With the Ronde van Drenthe at the end of October, the last round of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, marked the end of the 2021 season for the Alé BTC Ljubljana team. An extraordinary season, full of results, with 20 total victories, 17 at UCI level, never so many in the history of the women’s team from Verona, the conquest of a European gold medal in time trial and two wonderful silver medals, always in time trial, always with the Swiss Marlen Reusser, at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 and at the Road World Championships Flanders 2021. The team entered the Top 10 110 times.
A season full of successes that brought to an end in the best way a team project started in 2011 thanks to the farsightedness of its president Alessia Piccolo, of the Alé brand and more generally of A.P.G. Srl and of the Zecchetto family, who first, in unsuspected times, decided to believe and invest in women’s cycling, creating a team that in a few years has become one of the most important realities in the world, in a sector that in recent years has experienced an exponential growth.
From next year, as already announced in recent weeks, the team will be part of a new project branded Team UAE, which will open a new chapter and new scenarios for this splendid adventure. But before thinking about the future, today we want to focus for a moment on the past, on this wonderful cycle of 11 years wanted by Alessia Piccolo, in the last 7 years with the team manager Fortunato Lacquaniti at the head of the technical project and on this last magnificent season.
President Alessia Piccolo commented: “As a woman, as a manager and as a cycling enthusiast, I have always believed in the potential of women’s cycling and we can proudly say that we were among the first to believe in this movement and to create an exclusively female professional team. Over the years we’ve grown a lot, we’ve had some great satisfaction and I think we’ve made a big contribution to the growth of the sport and the image of this movement in Italy and around the world. I have to thank all the girls who have worn and honoured the jersey of our team during these eleven seasons. Thanks to our Slovenian friends from BTC Ljubjana who in recent years have shared a piece of our journey with us. I have to say a big thank you to all the staff members who have put in a lot of effort and with their professionalism have supported the activities of our girls in the best possible way. A special thanks goes to Fortunato Lacquaniti who, over the past seven years, as team manager has made a great contribution to the growth of our team. Despite the many difficulties dictated also by the complicated health situation that we have experienced in the last two years, our girls have always managed to be protagonists, to do themselves credit and to bring us to the top of the world rankings. This year we were able to achieve a great dream: the Olympic medal won by Marlen Reusser. We are closing an important chapter in our lives and passing the buck. I believe today, together with my staff, that I have done something very important. Above all, this new step is an act of love and responsibility towards the girls and the entire women’s movement, which is growing by leaps and bounds. With this agreement with UAE, we can guarantee continuity to a project that is very close to our hearts”.
Team manager Fortunato Lacquaniti‘s analysis starts from the extraordinary results obtained this year: “In this 2021 our project has reached its peak and the fruits of all that we have built over the years, both in terms of sport and image, have been seen. I think it was the right epilogue to crown an incredible journey, at the end of which we managed to achieve all the goals we had set ourselves, in fact even more than I could have imagined when I started 7 years ago with this team. We started with a small team of only Italian athletes, then came the big step in the WorldTour, when, at the time, many people criticised my choice, but in the long run it proved me right. Now we have a team that, although with a budget far from the top teams, has managed to reach fourth place in the world ranking behind super teams and ahead of other realities much larger and structured than us. This should fill us with pride and I think it rewards everyone for the great work we have done”.
Lacquaniti adds: “Personally, I have to thank the Zecchetto family and Alessia Piccolo who gave me the opportunity to lead this team seven years ago and to carry out my ideas. They were among the first to believe and invest in women’s cycling. I would like to thank the whole team, all the staff members who over the years have made a great contribution to the growth of this team. Everyone has put in the maximum effort and together we have built something special. I have to say thank you to all the girls who have worn our jersey and in particular I would like to thank this year’s group who have shown great attachment to the team, the jersey and the sponsors. Let’s not forget, by the way, that in the last two years we had to live with Covid-19, several times we had to take part to races with only four athletes at our disposal, but we managed to cope with this situation and despite everything we have collected many victories and especially quality”.
The results achieved are there for all to see. “Goals that were unthinkable when we started. An European title, medals at the World Championships and the Olympics, four victories at WorldTour level, we really couldn’t do better than that this year if we consider the big teams and budgets we have in front of us. I think we’ve done a great job together. The world of women’s cycling is growing exponentially – concludes Lacquaniti – and now the fact that a large and important reality as UAE has chosen to invest in our team means that they have identified an important structure. This means that in recent years we have done something significant and it should fill us with pride and satisfaction. Now a new chapter opens, with a new project and a whole new world and we will see what happens with the new ownership. Our project is coming to an end after 11 years at its peak and we have taken this opportunity to look ahead and remain competitive in a world that is moving so fast”.
THE 2021 VICTORIES:
1) 03/02/2021 | Marta Bastianelli| Al Salam Champinship | – UAE
2) 13/05/2021 | Marlen Reusser | ITT nazionale | Bärau – SWI
3) 21/05/2021 | Anastasiia Chursina | 2/a tappa Vuelta a Burgos Feminas | Pedrosa de Valdeporres – Villarcayo – SPA
4) 06/06/2021 | Marta Bastianelli | 2/a tappa Tour de Suisse Women | Frauenfeld – Frauenfeld – SWI
5) 13/06/2021 | Marlen Reusser | ITT nazionale | Thun – SWI
6) 16/06/2021 | Marlen Reusser | Campionato Naz. Svizzero ITT | Chalet-à-Gobet – SWI
7) 17/06/2021 | Eugenia Bujak | Campionato Naz. Sloveno ITT | SLO
8) 18/06/2021 | Mavi Garcia | Campionato Naz. Spagnolo ITT | Bussot – SPA
9) 19/06/2021 | Mavi Garcia | Campionato Naz. Spagnolo Strada | La Nucia – SPA
10) 20/06/2021 | Marlen Reusser | Campionato Naz. Svizzero Strada | – SWI
11) 20/06/2021 | Eugenia Bujak | Campionato Naz. Sloveno Strada | SLO
12) 04/07/2021 | Anastasiia Chursina | Kahramanmaraş Grand Prix Road Race WE | TUR
13) 14/08/2021 | Marta Bastianelli | La Périgord Ladies | Sarliac-sur-l’Isle a Boulazac-Isle-Manoire – FRA
14) 26/08/2021 | Marlen Reusser | 2/a tappa ITT Simac Ladies Tour | Gennep – NED
15) 02/09/2021 | Marlen Reusser | 1/a tappa Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta | Cabeza de Manzaneda – A Rua – SPA
16) 09/09/2021 | Marlen Reusser | Campionato Europeo a cronometro | Trento – ITA
17) 12/09/2021 | Marta Bastianelli | 5/a tappa Tour de l’Ardeche | Saint-Jean-en-Royans – FRA
18) 02/10/2021 | Mavi Garcia | Giro dell’Emilia WE |Bologna – ITA
19) 04/10/2021 | Marta Bastianelli | 1/a tappa The Women’s Tour | Bicester – Banbury – GBR
20) 17/10/2021 | Marlen Reusser | Chrono des Nations | Les Herbiers – FRA
17 UCI VICTORIES AND 20 TOTAL VICTORIES
8 ITT VICTORIES
110 TOP TEN
OTHER BIG INTERNATIONAL RESULTS:
28/07/2021 | Marlen Reusser | medaglia d’argento cronometro dei Giochi Olimpici Tokyo 2020 – JAP
20/09/2021 | Marlen Reusser | medaglia d’argento Mondiale cronometro | Bruges – BEL