The U23 structure that we promote from the Fundación Alberto Contador faces what will be its ninth year of existence and does so growing, adapting to the environment imposed by an increasingly global cycling. We continue to be a team with Spanish nationality in terms of licences, but we are facing a small revolution with up to twelve new faces and, within it, we are increasing the presence of Italian elements. Within a squad of seventeen riders, up to seven riders are from Italy.
The objective is that sooner rather than later a large percentage, if not 100%, of the reinforcements of the professional team will come from our structures. This is why the U23 formation will experience a year of qualitative and quantitative growth, without losing sight of the fundamental objective of training cyclists. After the exceptionality of this year, when we assumed the continuity of the most veteran riders due to the ravages of the 2020 complex, we are returning to the original idea that has been inspiring the creation of the squad year after year.
The 2021 season has been fascinating, with a great performance throughout the season. The beginnings were not easy, because the uncertainties of COVID-19 that conditioned the 2020 season were also felt at the start of the 2021 season. But little by little the situation stabilised and improved, and with that, the development of the campaign could resume with a certain degree of normality, without ever lowering our guard. We ourselves have been forced to abandon a race due to the early arrest of some COVID-19 cases.
David Martín, the cyclist who signed more successes during the campaign, and Álex Martín are promoted to the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team after his great performance. Two signings that satisfy me enormously because they give sense and give content to this project that so many efforts, of so many people, entails. Other kids like Edu Pérez-Landaluce, Vicente Hernaiz or Joan Martí Bennassar will also be professionals in 2022, thanks to other structures, after competing with us these last years. Alex’s leap to professionalism also satisfies us especially for the fact that he comes from the junior project after being captured in one of the last editions of the Campus de Selección.
Marc Terrasa and Antonio González are promoted from the U19 team, while several of the most promising youngsters from their youth categories are coming from Italy. There are many details that invite enthusiasm in the fight for a dream. Work, effort and commitment, however, must never be lacking.
As we remember whenever we have the opportunity, at the Contador Foundation we work every day with the dual aim of promoting cycling and raising awareness about stroke. Cycling as a communication channel has proven its effectiveness and validity. But cycling is much more than competition. That’s why we also take great satisfaction in projects such as Bikes for Life by ŠKODA, which is a charity project, or En Bici, which is an educational and training project. Since the end of 2020, we have launched Idemticos, an initiative that brings cycling to people with functional diversity.
Regards and health,
Francisco Javier Contador