Ion Lazkano, the director of Laboral Kutxa, the flagship team of Basque women’s cycling, has laid out the team’s ambitions as they aim to secure a place in the WorldTour. The team, currently awaiting a decision from the UCI on their WorldTour license, is focused on continuing its progression and increasing competitiveness. Lazkano emphasises the need for clear objectives and a strong identity in every race.
The Laboral Kutxa team is eager to compete against WorldTour teams, with Lazkano expressing confidence in the team’s abilities. The primary goals are to participate in major races like the Giro and the Tour, understanding that if they aren’t part of the WorldTour, they’ll have to earn their spots through invitations, demonstrating their worthiness on the road.
The team plans to elevate its average level to become more robust and versatile. This includes welcoming a significant new recruit Ane Santesteban, the leading cyclist from the Basque Country, who will be the main reference for the team in major races. Santesteban, previously part of the Jayco team, will guide Laboral Kutxa in prominent competitions.
Lazkano stresses the importance of choosing a suitable calendar that matches the riders’ abilities to optimise their performance and gather UCI points, which is crucial for climbing in the rankings. He expresses satisfaction with the team’s roster for 2024, which includes several new additions like Lourdes Oyarbide from Movistar, Laura Tomasi, Eri Yonamine, Jessenia Meneses, Catalina Soto Campos, and Cristina Tonetti, alongside key renewals.
The presence of Joane Somarriba, a three-time Tour and two-time Giro champion, as an advisor and ambassador, is highlighted. Somarriba’s role is to inspire new generations with her vast experience and success, showcasing the professional opportunities now available compared to her era.
Laboral Kutxa, backed by the bank until 2029, also serves as a path for young cyclists from the academy, illustrating the possibilities of a professional career in cycling. Lazkano looks to the future with the ambition of growing the team further and establishing it as a beacon for upcoming cycling talents.