Movistar hint at major women’s signing but Pauline Ferrand-Prévot not on the radar

'We’ll be targeting other big names, but not Pauline' says team boss Sebastián Unzué

Clock10:55, Monday 4th March 2024
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot is a star both on and off-road

© Getty Images

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot is a star both on and off-road

Movistar are on the lookout for at least one major signing in 2025 as they look to bolster their women’s team but team boss Sebastián Unzué has ruled out Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, despite the French rider announcing her intention to ride on the road next season. The team boss also denied the idea of signing Demi Vollering (SD Worx-Protime), who is also out of contract.

Ferrand-Prévot is currently under contract at Ineos Grenadiers but her desire to concentrate on the road is at odds with the team’s structure as they don’t support a full-time road project or have any female road riders under contract. That could change in the coming months, and while Ferrand-Prévot appears patient, her long-term future will need to be finalised during the summer.

Read more: Pauline Ferrand-Prévot will test Ineos’ true commitment to women’s cycling

On paper, Movistar look like a viable option. They didn’t bring in a major star to replace Annemiek van Vleuten at the end of 2023, and Canyon, who supplies the team’s bikes, have a track record of supporting multi-disciplined riders in the past, and worked with Ferrand-Prévot when she was on the Canyon-SRAM team between 2017 and 2022.

“I have very clear goals on the market, and Pauline isn’t one of them, unfortunately,” Unzué told GCN.

“We don’t do mountain biking, and we will do some cyclo-cross at the end of the season but we don’t have MTB in our plans. It’s complicated to support these sorts of riders, and it’s not doable. The goals for us are clear, so it’s not something I’m considering. We’ll be targeting other big names, but not Pauline. 

Despite the lack of interest in the French all-rounder, Unzué is scouring the transfer market for options. A top-level sprinter is unlikely, and he also ruled out approaching out-of-contract Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift champion Demi Vollering.

“There are lots of interesting riders on the market, but we’ll see. I can’t discuss the names. There are quite a few names on the market, and things are moving. Meetings and discussions are taking place, with many different riders,” he said.

“There are different targets on the market. I would be happy to take one of the important riders in the peloton. It’s easy to look at who because there are no sprinters that are out of contract for next year. Lorena Wiebes has a long-term contract, with Charlotte Kool, the same. Chiara Consonni, from what I’ve heard is staying at UAE so there are not really any sprinters on the market, so it has to be another type of rider."

There is a vault of highly talented riders out of contract, including Lizzie Deignan, Niamh Fisher-Black, Anna Shackley, Kasia Niewiadoma, Elisa Longo Borghini and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.

While looking for new talent, the Movistar boss also has to address the fact that Emma Norsgaard is out of contract. The Dane has been a vital part in the team’s success since joining in 2021.

“Her contract is up for extension at the end of the season. She’s a rider who has been extremely important to us and a rider who fits into the team perfectly. We’ll see in the next few months what she wants to do, and if she will be staying at the team or not,” he said.

Coincidentally, Norsgaard and Uttrup Ludwig share more than a nationality, having come through both Team Rytger and Cervélo-Bigla Pro Cycling during their early days. Might Movistar be their next shared employer? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

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