Farto BTC to continue racing as national team as unable to meet Spanish Federation’s minimum requirements to be Continental

Michaela Drummond 2023 Farto-BTC crop

Team Farto BTC, based in Pontevedra, is set to continue its commitment to women’s cycling in 2024, transitioning from a UCI category team to an elite-sub23 women’s team. This strategic move aims to focus on approximately thirty to forty days of national-level competition, with specific excursions to neighbouring Portugal and France.

The team has confirmed the renewal of nine athletes, blending experience from their UCI and subsidiary teams. Returning riders include Ariadna Gutiérrez, Laura Mira, Martina Moreno, and Pilar Jiménez from the UCI team, alongside Elena Cuenca, Sonia Domínguez, Carmen Mallo, Sabela Rey, and Mirian Trigo from the second team. Adding to this robust lineup, the team welcomes Andrea Prado from CCB – Becani as their first new signing. Prado, a promising talent in Galician cycling, steps into the under-23 category with Farto BTC. The team remains open to further augmenting their roster with additional signings.

Farto BTC has also secured the continued support of several key sponsors, including Portuguese clothing brand PACTO, Skoda Mourente Motor, the OCA Hotels chain, and the Ence Pontevedra Social Plan. They are actively working to sustain their current level of institutional and private backing.

The team got its best result last season at the Tour Feminin l’Ardeche when Michaela Drummond took a stage victory.

The team plans to kick off their season in January, participating in select UCI competitions in Spain. Their primary focus will be on showcasing a competitive spirit in these UCI races and targeting the Spanish Cup as their main goal.

In a broader context, recent developments in Spanish women’s cycling have had a significant impact. In August 2022, new regulations were passed mandating that only teams meeting Spain’s national minimum wage could apply for professional status and compete at the UCI Continental level from 2024, a year later than originally planned. This change affects race organisers as well, who can now invite foreign teams over Spanish teams for non-Women’s WorldTour races in Spain.

However, seven other teams, including Bizkaia-Durango, Eneicat, Farto-BTC, Massi-Tactic, Rio Miera-Cantabria Deporte, Soltec, and Sopela, faced challenges in complying with the rule by 2024, requiring additional funding of approximately €50-200k. Only Eneicat currently looks set to be racing at Continental level in 2024 with the others either folding or racing at the Spanish national level.