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Team Movistar pedals into post-Valverde era with mix of old and new

Annemiek Van Vleuten and Enric Mas move centerstage for Movistar in 2023.

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Team Movistar is moving into its first season without Alejandro Valverde among its elite men’s ranks as the team looks ahead with a mix of old and new.

Valverde was the gravitational center of Spain’s lone men’s WorldTour team since 2005. The sometimes controversial rider finally retired in October, and the team put a fresh polish on its men’s and women’s team’s rosters for 2023.

Valverde isn’t going far, and will stay with the team at least in 2023 in an advisory-mentor role.

Annemiek van Vleuten will remain as the team’s established superstar for 2023, and will be looking to go out on a high in what she says will be her final season.

The men’s and women’s editions of the Tour de France will be the central focus for both teams, with the team hoping to defend its title in the Tour de France Femmes, and earn its first podium spot in the men’s race since Nairo Quintana was third in 2016.

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Enric Mas will return as the team’s Tour GC leader after a solid rebound to finish second in the 2022 Vuelta a España.

There are no major new arrivals for 2023, but both teams will be stronger in depth and optimistic about their collective future.

One of the peloton’s most historical teams

Valverde was emotional in a final goodbye with ex-pro Pedro Delgado. (Photo: photogomezsport)

The Spanish squad hosted its flashy team presentation Wednesday at the Madrid headquarters of main sponsor Telefónica for what will be its 13th season as the title sponsor.

That long-running backing helps keep the team’s roots firmly planted into the peloton, which dates back to the 1980s.

The team raced under the banners of different sponsors, including Reynolds, Banesto, Illes Balears, and Caisse d’Epargne before Movistar joined in 2011.

The 2023 season will be the franchise’s 44th season.

The team will boast 45 riders across its men’s and women’s WorldTour teams.

Movistar made a big bet on the women’s team, and the arrival of Van Vleuten in 2021 pushed the team’s profile even higher.

New faces to fill out the base

Gaviria, shown here with Rojas, is hoping for a revival in the sprints. (Photo: photogomezsport)

With Mas and Van Vleuten leading the two squads, key arrivals will bolster both teams going into the new season.

Liane Lippert brings additional climbing power to the women’s team, while Floortje Mackaij is an all-rounder who will fit in nicely.

Fernando Gaviria will give the team an ace in the hole for the sprints if he can return to his previous level, while Ruben Guerreiro will have chances to roam as he explores his GC chances, while Iván Romeo could emerge as a new Spanish star.

Americans remain in the fold

Movistar’s two American riders — Matteo Jorgenson and Will Barta — are both back for 2023.

Barta put in a quiet, but very solid, season in 2022 which he hopes will pay off dividends in 2023. Jorgenson confirmed his class with a stunning Tour de France debut that included four successful breakaway efforts, and a handful of top-5s.

Jorgenson’s confidence is bolstered going into the 2023 campaign and will be hoping to punch a return ticket to the Tour this summer.

‘El Día Menos Pensado’ will continue

Van Vleuten will be the focus of the new season of ‘El Día Menos Pensado.’ (Photo: photogomezsport)

The team’s popular behind-closed-doors documentary series “El Día Menos Pensado” — The Least Expected Day — will be back for its fourth season.

The next season will include a special focus on the women’s team’s dominance and follow Valverde in his emotional goodbye from the peloton.

The team will also see even more support from Telefónica Tech, which will help with data analysis, artificial intelligence, and execution throughout the season.

Movistar Team for 2023

Men’s team: Alex Aranburu, Jorge Arcas, Will Barta (USA), Imanol Erviti, Iván García Cortina, Fernando Gaviria (COL), Abner González (PUR), Ruben Guerreiro (POR), Juri Hollmann (GER), Gorka Izagirre, Johan Jacobs (SUI), Matteo Jorgenson (USA), Max Kanter (GER), Oier Lazkano, Enric Mas, Lluís Mas, Gregor Mühlberger (AUT), Mathias Norsgaard (DEN), Nelson Oliveira (POR), Antonio Pedrero, Vinícius Rangel (BRA), Óscar Rodríguez, José Joaquín Rojas, Iván Romeo, Einer Rubio (COL), Sergio Samitier, Gonzalo Serrano, Iván Sosa (COL), Albert Torres, Carlos Verona..

Women’s team: Katrine Aalerud (NOR), Aude Biannic (FRA), Jelena Erić (SRB), Sarah Gigante (AUS), Alicia González, Sheyla Gutiérrez, Liane Lippert (GER), Floortje Mackaij (NED), Sara Martín, Emma Norsgaard (DEN), Lourdes Oyarbide, Paula Patiño (COL), Gloria Rodríguez, Arlenis Sierra (CUB), Annemiek van Vleuten (NED).

Staff: General manager: Eusebio Unzué, CEO: Miguel Grávalos, COO/Manager women’s team: Sebastián Unzué, head of performance: Patxi Vila, Technical advisor: Iván Velasco, sport directors: Chente García Acosta, Pablo Lastras, Maximilian Sciandri (GBR), Jorge Sanz, Xabier Muriel, Yvon Ledanois (FRA), Jürgen Roelandts (BEL)

Movistar and its men’s and women’s teams vow to press on. (Photo: photogomezsport)