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Laboral Kutxa completes its 2023 line-up after making its first international signings

Movistar Team Talks: Eider Merino cierra nuestra primera temporada de entrevistas

The Basque team Laboral Kutxa has completed its transfer business for the 2023 season and announced several new signings. The team has an increase of budget this season with a reported €1.8million to spend each year going forward. There are naturally some ambitions of reaching the Women’s WorldTour as soon as possible to go with that too. It’s a long climb for the Basque outfit though, they are currently ranked 50th at the end of the 2022 season and would need to close up a gap of just over 2000 points to make the 15th spot in the rankings for the last spot in the WWT for 2024-2026. The 2023 line-up looks encouraging in that they should finish higher in 2023 than in 2022 but I would be very surprised if they made it into the top 15 teams.

The headline signing was that of former-Movistar rider Eider Merino who has had a struggle of a season in 2022. At her best, she’s a strong pure climber and with more races being prepared to add major climbs, her climbing strength should feature when it comes to GC results. If she can regain that form from a couple of years ago, she will be the team’s figurehead. Ines Cantera drops down from WWT team Roland Cogeas Edelweiss. Her best result in 2022 was 16th at the local Emakumeen Naffaroako one-day race and these sorts of testing races on home roads could be where success lies for her in 2023 with a freer role.

Alba Teruel is another former Movistar rider, who spent 4 years with the top-level team before racing with Bizkaia Durango last season. Her best results came in the non-UCI Spanish Cup races, with the best result of 24th on the 2nd stage of the Ruta del Sol at UCI level. Latvian Lija Laizane raced in Spain for Eneicat in 2022 and should give the team an attacking option and useful UCI ranking points in her national championships too. Nadia Quagliotto returns to a Spanish team after spending 2020 at Cronos-Casa Dorada. She should help the team score plenty of strong results after finishing 9th in Navarra Elite Classics in 2022. German rider Aileen Schweikart has been racing for Bizkaia Durango for the last 2 seasons and is knocking on the door to a higher level too. 14th on the queen stage of the Giro Donne and 18th overall shows her climbing and GC potential.

2023 Laboral Kutxa Team

  • Naia Amondarain
  • Mireia Arriazu
  • Ines Cantera
  • Ariana Gilabert
  • Yurani Blanco
  • Tania Calvo
  • Idoia Eraso
  • Eider Merino
  • Usoa Ostolaza
  • Marta Romeu
  • Alba Teruel
  • Mireia Trías
  • Eneritz Vadillo
  • Lija Laizane
  • Nadia Quagliotto
  • Aileen Schweikart