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World Champion Annemiek van Vleuten is joining Movistar

Joe Robinson
1 Sep 2020

The Dutchwoman switches on a two-year deal ending five years at Mitchelton-Scott

The best female cyclist in the world is switching teams, as World and European Champion Annemiek van Vleuten has signed a two-year deal with Movistar.

Van Vleuten will end her five-year association with Australian team Mitchelton-Scott at the end of the 2020 season to join Spanish team Movistar for 2021 and 2022, a deal that will take her through to her 40th birthday.

Current road race World Champion, a two-time time-trial World Champion, two-time Giro Rosa winner and double defending champion of Strade Bianche, Van Vleuten has been the best female – and arguably overall – rider in the world for the past three seasons and, as noted by team manager Sebastien Unzue, her signing represents quite the coup for a Movistar women's team that is only in its third season of racing.

'There is one Movistar team before and one after Annemiek's arrival, certainly. It's already been three years of hard work from everyone involved in this project to set a solid, ambitious foundation, a team that aims at big goals, and her signing is a decisive boost to attain that objective,' said Unzue.

'Her mentality fits to perfection into the way this group has always worked, and for our entire roster, both riders and staff, her arrival will be a huge step forward for us.

'I've always believed that great riders grow up better when having great examples by their side, great leaders, and our young talents will enjoy the best reflection of what's needed to succeed, with Annemiek being, undoubtedly, the best rider in the world.'

For Van Vleuten, the change of scenery comes after a challenging, coronavirus 2020 season that saw her Mitchelton-Scott team reduce her wage, as well as the rest of the team, by 75 per cent while racing was postponed.

The Dutchwoman, who has six victories from nine race days in 2020, will now lead the Movistar team in a new challenge that she is sure she has the match of.

'My history with the Movistar team goes back to many years ago. I got to know the team better as I shared training rides with them during my altitude camps in the Sierra Nevada, Spain, back in 2014, Van Vleuten explained.

'I really liked the experience; it felt like a 'Spanish family' for me, I felt really welcomed by them as they were the first professional men's team that invited me to join them in endurance training.

'The atmosphere with them was so relaxing: no stress on the training, waiting for me after the climbs, and also every evening, staying together after dinner, even playing table tennis with Alejandro Valverde,' added Van Vleuten.

'With regards to the women's team, it feels the same – I look at them like a great group of girls, with the same culture as what I saw in Sierra Nevada. It's a project that attracts me, as much as I'm looking forward to working with head of performance Patxi Vila.

'I'm really looking forward to improve together with the whole team, and enthusiastic about what lies ahead with them. I hope they can help me becoming even faster.'