Malgorzata Jasinska had a breakout year in her first season with the Movistar women's outfit and she aims to build on that success with the continued support of her team in 2019. The Polish double champion in the time trial and road race will once again represent the Spanish team at the head of the peloton in races across the Women's WorldTour.
"This was definitely my best season, and that's a big thank you to Movistar because they have given me so much," Jasinska told Cyclingnews in an interview following her fifth-place performance at the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck in September.
"They believe in me," she continued.
"Last year, I didn't have a new team [contract for 2018], but Movistar saw me racing in Madrid, when I attacked, and they wanted me on their team."
Jasinska, 34 is heading into her 10th season as a professional cyclist. She started out racing with teams Pol-Aqua, S.C. Michela Fanini, MCipollini, and three years with Ale Cipollini before moving to the American team Cylance in 2017.
She is known for being a strong teammate and aggressive racer, and she had some success of her own; she twice won the Giro Toscana and placed second overall at the Tour Femenino de San Luis. She has also won the Polish road title four times (2009, 2010, 2015 and 2018).
Jasinska told Cyclingnews that nearing the end of that 2017, she had not renewed with Cylance, but representatives from Movistar approached her at the Madrid Challenge to offer her a deal for 2018 to be part of their newly formed women's team.
Movistar have supported a men's WorldTour team for eight seasons, and they announced last year that they would launch a women's programme to compete in the highest level of women's racing to better-align themselves with gender equality and inclusion.
Cyclingnews reached out to Movistar women’s team manager, Jorge Sanz, who said the team was lucky to find her, and even luckier to have her back on board for a second season.
"She was without a team, we were looking for quality riders, and so our paths were destined to join," said Sanz, who worked with Jasinska in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. "Above all, I was struck by the strength and resistance that she had, always working for her leaders."
Sanz noted that Jasinska and Spanish rider Sheyla Gutierrez were teammates at Cylance in 2017, and that Gutierrez had put in a good word for the Polish rider when she was looking for a new team in 2018.
"Jasi had already demonstrated her potential," Sanz said. "In addition, Sheyla spoke very well of her, both on a personal level and on a sports level, although her season in Cylance during 2017 was not the best of her career.
"With all this information, we knew that she was a rider that we should take care of and that if we gave her support, and she was happy, she would get very strong results for the team."
Jasinksa ended up being one of the team's top performers in 2018, starting with strong results during the Classics season with a top 10 at Tour of Flanders. She also placed fifth in the road race at the UCI Road World Championships, was runner-up at Plumelec and Veenendaal, and had top-10 results GP de Plouay, Thüringen Ladies Tour and Emakumeen Bira, to show her versatility.
"The result is this," Sanz continued, "double national champion and shining in the most important Women's WorldTour races, especially those races that are hard because of the hilly conditions and in which the toughest riders, with great character and strength, shine the most; that's where it works best and she knows that.
"Also this year, she has learned to value herself more, which makes her much more confident in herself; she has learned to remain calm in stress situations where she acquires responsibilities to solve a competition."
Movistar renewed contracts with nine of their riders: Jasinska, Spanish champions Mavi García, who won the time trial, and Eider Merino, who won the road race, Alicia González, Lorena Llamas, Lourdes Oyarbide, Gloria Rodríguez, and Spanish under-23 time trial champion Alba Teruel, and French champion Aude Biannic.
The team signed new riders Sheyla Gutierrez from Cylance and Roxane Fournier from FDJ.
Sanz said the strong lineup for 2019 means that Jasinska will have more support in top races. "Jasi is not going to find herself alone; she will have teammates of a very similar level that will allow them to be more efficient in their work, being able to combine and distribute different roles depending the situation in the races."
Jasinska attributes much of her success to Movistar's support but also said she had been working with a sport psychologist, which helped excel during the 2018 season.
"I started to work with a sport psychologist this year, and I think that has helped me a lot. It changed me," she told Cyclingnews.