In a substantial move for the 2024 season, Basque cyclist Lourdes Oyarbide has inked a deal with Laboral Kutxa-Euskadi Fundazioa, bringing an impressive resume to the team that features 17 riders, six of whom are Basque. With six seasons at Movistar Team under her belt, Oyarbide is expected to play a critical role in the squad’s development, offering an enviable wealth of experience that should see her support leaders like Ane Santesteban.
The sporting director of LABORAL Kutxa-Euskadi Fundazioa, Ion Lazkano, lauded Oyarbide’s experience, particularly highlighting her years with Movistar Team where she rode alongside Annemiek van Vleuten. “She brings a calming presence and knows how to compete, making her an invaluable addition to the team,” Lazkano remarked.
Oyarbide, herself a two-time Spanish champion, winner of a stage in the Vuelta a Burgos and a podium finisher at the esteemed Thüringen Ladies Tour, expressed her enthusiasm for the new journey. “I’m extremely motivated by the team’s ambition, work ethics, and clear vision. I intend to contribute my experience gained over the recent years in the WorldTour,” she stated.
The rider holds a degree in Industrial Design and Product Development from Mondragon University. She joins a 2024 line-up that includes other prominent riders like Ane Santesteban, Laura Tomassi, and Eri Yonamine—all coming from WorldTour teams—as well as Jessenia Meneses, Catalina Soto, and Cristina Tonetti.
Reaffirming LABORAL Kutxa’s philosophy of nurturing homegrown Basque talent without forsaking international expertise, Oyarbide will join Naia Amondarain, Idoia Eraso, Usoa Ostolaza, Ane Santesteban, and Eneritz Vadillo to be part of the Basque contingent of the team.
To lay the groundwork for 2024, the team has planned a four-day “team building” session this week in Elgoibar, Gipuzkoa. The session is designed to facilitate interpersonal relationships among team members and firm up the team’s strategy for the forthcoming season.