For the second year in a row, the Movistar team was handed the trophy for best WorldTour team, and this time around, their veteran leader, Alejandro Valverde won the individual rider title as well.
The 2014 UCI WorldTour award ceremony was held in the headquarters of the squad’s title sponsor, Madrid’s Distrito Telefónica, on Monday. There, UCI president Brian Cookson presented the hardware to team general manager Eusebio Unzué and Valverde. Also present was Royal Spanish Cycling Federation chairman José Luis López Cerrón and Miguel Cardenal, Spanish secretary of state for sport, who announced that the Royal Order of Sporting Merit will be awarded to the squad.
“It’s a big recognition for all of us — not only the riders [who formed] a marvelous roster which allows us to claim such important victory and, most especially, to take cycling in our country back to the place it deserves, but also the staff, all people into our team whose efforts lead us to the top,” said Unzué. “It makes us proud to receive these trophies at Telefónica’s headquarters, since they make really big efforts for us all the time. I also want to dedicate this victory to all cycling schools and youth teams — the young people, their families and coaches — they really help us to take this sport forward despite all bad moments our country is going through. This success is also theirs.”
For Valverde, the award recognizes his consistently excellent performances that ran from February to October, with 11 victories and almost thirty top-10 finishes in 77 days of racing.
“It’s been undoubtedly a great season, and a proof of that is we got this prize that rewards the best throughout the season,” he said. “It’s my third time. … My season was quite good. It could have been even better with minor improvements, like the Tour podium, but at the end, I gave everything I had in my body, and you can’t really ask for anything else. Though it’s difficult to repeat this season’s success, there are goals we didn’t achieve yet and we will fight to conquer them in 2015.”