The Massi-Tactic UCI Women’s Team will enter their third season in the elite of women’s road cycling with a team more international than ever. 7 of the 12 riders from the Torroella de Montgrí ( Girona ) team are foreigners with the aim of taking another step forward in 2021. The five signings this year are international: the Norwegian Vita Heine, the Slovenian Spela Kern, the Dutch Maaike Coljé, Britain’s Emma Grant and Canadian Olivia Baril, in addition to the renewed Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin, from Canada, and Agua Marina Espinola, from Paraguay. The rest of the team – the only Catalan team in the highest category – is completed with the continuity of Belén López from Cádiz and the Catalans Mireia Benito, Mireia Trias, Martina Moreno and Patri Ortega.
The Massi-Tactic was presented today in Púbol (Girona) with the ambition to continue growing after successfully overcoming the first two years, although 2020 was marked by COVID-19. The 2021 season will start in March and the intention is to compete for eight months in national and international races, some in the UCI World Tour category. The presentation has been in La Bruguera de Púbol, in the Halo Cycling Project rural house, where the team is concentrated from the 22nd until tomorrow. Miquel Noguer, president of the Girona Provincial Council; Gerard Figueras, Secretary-General of Sport of the Generalitat de Catalunya; Pep Pujols, Territorial representative of Sport of the Generalitat in Girona; Jordi Colomí, mayor of Torroella de Montgrí; Jordi Masquef, deputy for Sports of the Girona Provincial Council, and Carles Ferrer, delegate in Girona of the Catalan Cycling Federation, all attended among others.
Sergi Güell, president of the Baix Ter Cycling Club, explained that “this season has to be a year to exploit and to assess how far we can go. The first two years we have made ourselves known and have obtained good results. This 2021 we hope to obtain the first podiums and victories in the World Tour calendar and to be a benchmark in Spain and Europe”.
Àngel González, technical director of Massi-Tactic, underlines that “this season we wanted to have riders with more international experience, we have signed five outstanding cyclists who are well placed in the world ranking. With the rest of the team renewals, we are very excited, wanting to do well and take another step. We appreciate the support of the institutions, but we also need that of the private sector, such as Massi and Tactic, to continue with our project”.
Mireia Trias, Massi-Tactic rider, stated on behalf of the entire team that the goal “It is taking another step forward, last year we already showed that we can make a name for ourselves within the international group and now we have strengthened ourselves to get some victory and podiums. With the signings, we have increased the quality and they will help us to improve individually”.
The president of the Girona Provincial Council, Miquel Noguer, highlighted the effort of the team and the club to improve year after year within the highest category of female cyclists and, in this way, bring “the name of the Girona district to all of Europe ” . He also reaffirmed the support of the corporation in the project and stressed: “We promote and help projects that, like this one, promote women’s sport and contribute to equality and equity.”
Gerard Figueras, General Secretary for Sport of the Generalitat de Catalunya, highlighted, addressing the riders, that “women’s sport needs all the support in the private, institutional and federative sphere, what you do is very important as a club, team and project. The trajectory of the Massi-Tactic is consolidating and it is a beacon, in cycling or in other sports, to see that women’s sport has a journey and can reach a high level”.
The mayor of Torroella de Montgrí, Jordi Colomí, explained that for the municipality “it is a pride to have the only Catalan female team that competes at the highest level. It is a very well worked project, with solid foundations and with a lot of effort from the club to carry out this challenge. We feel very well represented since the name of Torroella and l’Estartit proudly travels through the female cycling world .
The Massi-Tactic will continue to be directed by Manel Gonzalo and Àngel González nd will debut in March since, due to the pandemic, the Tour of Valenciana has been suspended (February 7). The intention is to run around thirty races until September in UCI World Tour events, the UCI Women’s Calendar, international races, and the Spanish Cup and the Catalan Cup. The trips will be throughout Spain and through Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, France, Italy and the Czech Republic, and the World Tour events include Flèche Wallonne and the Tour of Flanders, in Belgian lands; the new Itzulia Women, in the Basque Country; the Tour of Burgos; the Ladies Tour of Norway and the Ceratizit Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta.
Present at the Olympic Games and with experience in Europe and abroad
The Massi-Tactic girls are between 19 and 36 years old and have participated in World Championships and the Olympic Games, titles and podiums in Spanish and international Championships and Cups, and are a presence within the national team. The five signings this season have a great European background and want to claim more.
The Norwegian Vita Heine (11/21/1984) has participated in the Olympic Games in Rio, hopes to be in Tokyo and has been four times champion of her country. She is a strong rider in both flat and mountain races and also in time trials, where she has finished fourth in Europe and has won a stage of the Internationale Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour (Germany) and the general of the Tour de Feminin of the Czech Republic.
The Slovenian Spela Kern (02/24/1990) is considered a climber runner, lover of stage races and one-day races like the classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège or Flèche Wallonne (Belgium). Coming from athletics, she is in full projection and has been a regular in the world championships and in the leading group of the Giro d’Italia. In addition, she was 11th in the Emilia Donne Giro and 16th in the Durango-Durango.
The Dutch Maaike Coljé (07/03/1997) started cycling two years ago after competing in track skating. With the Massi-Tactic she will make her debut in UCI races and is characterised by being a powerful climbing rider, as evidenced by her excellent performance in the last Tour de Ardèche (France), finishing 17th overall.
The British Emma Grant (09/30/1991) has focused her cycling career in the United States, where she has excelled in the Cascade Classic, the Tour Down Under, the Redlands Sunset and the Tour of California to Mt Baldy. Grant got into cycling through a programme called Girls 4 Gold, she has specialised in attritional racing and steep climbs and now wants to prove herself in Europe.
Canadian Olivia Baril (10/10/1997) drew attention when she won her country’s two under-23 national titles a year ago. She is a lover of team strategies and stands out for being a rider who performs well on undulating terrain. Baril has also been among the top six in the Tour of Dubai, in the Vuelta a Burgos in the youth category and in the Joe Martin Stage Race in the United States.
The Massi-Tactic has finished with all the acquisitions it wanted, seven. Mireia Benito continued to evolve in 2020, becoming the Catalan champion in the time trial, on the road and in the Catalan Cup, and being part of the breaks in UCI World Tour races such as the Flèche Wallonne of Belgium. Mireia Trias was one of the team’s sensations, being the best Spanish rider in the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta de Madrid and champion of Catalonia on the road, second in time trial, first in the Catalan Cup and second in Spain in the sub-23.
Patri Ortega, one of the riders that rose from the subsidiary, Catema, stood out as Catalan runner-up in time trial and the Catalan Cup. Martina Moreno, the youngest of the team (19 years old) who made the jump from the subsidiary in the middle of the season, obtained the second position in the Catalan Cup and third in the Catalunya Championship in the sub-23 time trial, in addition to showing her face in international events such as the Tour Cycliste International de Ardèche, in France.
Agua Marina Espinola, who last year can only run one race with Massi-Tactic due to the pandemic, has a ticket for the Tokyo Olympics, while Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin and Belén López have continued to provide consistency, experience and quality to the set of the Costa Brava. Belén López is, along with Mireia Benito, the survivor of the team that debuted at the UCI two years ago.
Founded 31 years ago and first women’s team 10 seasons ago
The CC Baix Ter, founded in 1990, created its first women’s team ten years ago to give opportunities to three girls from the entity who were leaving the training stage. This initiative was very well received and three seasons ago they had 23 Catalan, Balearic and Aragonese cyclists. Despite the creation of the Massi-Tactic UCI Women’s Team, in 2019, the Catalan club has continued to bet on the growth of the quarry and continues to have a second amateur team that participates in territorial events. Within the current structure, CC Baix Ter has about 120 riders, 70% of whom are under 18 years of age. Behind them, they have the support of 230 members who actively participate during the year in the different activities that are organised.