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Team Movistar doubled up across its men’s and women’s squads Saturday.
Young Dane Emma Norsgaard delivered at Festival Elsy Jacobs after a season of near-misses, while home talent Héctor Carretero outsprinted Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) in a reduced kick at Vuelta a Asturias.
Although the likes of Alejandro Valverde and Annemiek van Vleuten typically top the headlines for Movistar, Saturday’s results saw two of the squad’s young promises step up, with both Norsgaard and Carretero notching their first victories for “the blues.”
Newly-signed Norsgaard, 21, won the punchy uphill sprint on stage 1 of the Luxembourg race to score a nerve-settling victory after nine top-10s in 11 races this season.
“When I crossed the finish line I actually felt more relieved than happy, I was like ‘finally,’ the feeling that I’ve been waiting the whole season for this victory,” she said. “So first it was relief, but then I saw my teammates and then I was so happy, they did an amazing job for me today.”
Carretero’s palmarès-topping result Saturday comes after four seasons of grinding in the Movistar engine room. After going clear in a small group of the final climb in the Asturias’ second stage, the 25-year-old seized the rare opportunity to ride for himself.
“I’m so happy to have claimed this first professional victory,” he said. “It’s clear to me what my job here is – I’m one to support my teammates, I’m happy with that role in the team and want to keep improving on that. In days like today, you’ve got to make the most of those chances. This gives me massive morale, and huge relief to finally get that first win in the books.”
He dedicated the win to Jesús Hoyos, the long-serving Movistar doctor who passed away last year.
“I remember Jesús Hoyos in this day, and since I turned pro, I always wanted to dedicate this first victory to my family, friends and the town of Madriguers,” Carretero said. “This goes for all of them.”
Both the Festival Elsy Jacobs and Vuelta Asturias wrap up Sunday, with Quintana holding a 36-second lead over Movistar pair Antonio Pedrero and Augusto Rubio. Norsgaard leads the women’s race by just four seconds over Leah Kirchmann (Team DSM).
“We are going to try anything to defend my leader’s jersey, it can be super hard but now I have a lot of confidence, and I think the team is happy and confident, so tomorrow is going to be fun, as well as a 100 percent effort,” she said.