American Leah Thomas will be racing in Movistar colors for the 2021 season.
“I am excited to be on a team that is developing and, like myself, striving to be better each and every day,” Thomas said in a team statement. “An additional plus is they have fantastic equipment!”
The 31-year-old is the latest addition to the 14 women comprising the Spanish squad managed by Sebastián Unzué.
“Leah is the final piece we were missing to create a balanced, strong group for next season. She’s a rider who not only defends herself well in all terrains but shines amongst the best in every single one. She’s a great time trialist, a solid climber who does well at mountain-top finishes, a valuable asset for the classics.”
The American racer was on the UnitedHealthcare squad in 2019, and was under contract with Équipe Paule Ka (Bigla at the start of the season) in 2020.
Équipe Paul Ka swooped in to try to save the Bigla team in the first half of the 2020 season, however, the team unexpectedly folded — another victim of the coronavirus — leaving riders stranded.
Thomas is an accomplished time trialer, winning the Pan American games event in 2019, and finishing in fifth place in the event at the 2018 UCI world cycling championships.
She finished on the podium, in third, at the 2020 Strade Bianche, an accomplishment she credits to tenacity.
“During the 2020 season, I was most proud of my podium in Strade Bianche – not because I placed third, but because I had bad luck in the race and never stopped fighting.”
Thomas joins Annemiek van Vleuten at Movistar, and Unzué is excited about the team built around the Dutch superstar.
“With talented youngsters together with expert, solid veterans. A deep roster, with 14 riders, which will be able to both support Annemiek at the most important events and also contest every challenge we tackle next season, with both the newcomers and the members already part of the 2020 team,” Unzué said.