Iván Sosa caps Movistar’s late-season surge with victory at Tour de Langkawi
Movistar ends the season ranked 11th in the running points tally to secure its WorldTour future for 2023.
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Iván Sosa won the overall at Le Tour de Langkawi on Tuesday to cap an under-the-gun late-season run by Movistar that saved the team’s future.
The Spanish team was looking down the barrel at possible WorldTour relegation midway through 2022, but a string of steady results in the closing months of the season secured the team’s future.
Sosa’s win Tuesday at the eight-day race — the final event on the 2022 calendar to earn points for the major teams — puts a winning touch on the team’s season finale.
“I’m thankful to my teammates and staff for all the support throughout this race since I got the jersey on Thursday,” Sosa said. “It’s been a tough few days, the peloton never making things easy for that, but we’ve been able to close out this 2022 season in the best possible way, claiming a second title and with the best energy for what’s to come in the future, after a tough season for all of us.”
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Flooding and heavy rains forced the cancelation of Monday’s decisive climbing stage, but Sosa had already moved into the overall lead with a win ahead of Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) at Genting Highlands.
Movistar controlled an attack-riddled finale on a circuit course Tuesday. Matteo Jorgenson also closed out his strong 2022 campaign that saw him shine during his Tour de France in July.
Movistar secures its WorldTour future
The victory comes as a salve for Sosa, who fell ill during the Giro d’Italia in May in what was supposed to have been his moment to shine for the team.
His sub-par Giro seemed to put Movistar on the wrong foot going into the decisive season of a three-season running tally of UCI points to determine the next round of WorldTour licenses.
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Crashes by star rider Enric Mas at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Critérium du Dauphiné and his subsequent departure from the Tour de France for COVID-19 put the team into panic mode as it hovered near the relegation zone.
Mas rebounded nicely to finish second overall at the Vuelta a España, and a string of wins and top results from other riders turned around Movistar’s fortunes.
By September, the team moved up nicely in the UCI rankings, and ends the three-year points tally ranked 11th in the top-team rankings, well within the “safe” zone of the top 18-ranked team who will qualify for WorldTour licenses going into 2023.
With reports of a second title sponsor coming on board, Movistar looks secure going into the next several seasons.
For the 24-year-old Sosa, who still packs one more year on his contract at Movistar for 2023, going into the off-season with a win will help his confidence.
“Now I’ll have to recover, but this week will really help me to prepare for the next season,” Sosa said. “It’s a morale booster and I’m glad to keep the tradition of Colombian winners in Malaysia alive.”