2021 Team Preview: Alé BTC Ljubljana Cipollini
Marlen Reusser brings strength to second-year Women's WorldTour team
Alé BTC Ljubljana Cipollini will be the most visible team in the peloton with a new red and yellow fluorescent, diamond-shaped pattern and with riders like Marta Bastianelli, Mavi Garcia and Marlen Reusser who are sure to be standing on the podium in 2021.
The team is heading into their second season as a Women's WorldTeam after they combined forces between the former teams Alé Cipollini and BTC Ljubljana in 2020. The move proved to be a good one as the team were one of just eight teams in the top tier and invited to all the big races.
Bastianelli is the team's leader, a former world champion and winner of some of the major Spring Classics like Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem, she is the team's go-to contender for many of the races on the Women's WorldTour.
Manager: Alessia Piccolo
Team Size: 12
Average Age: 28.5
How did they fare in 2020?
The team had eight victories in 2020 that brought them to eighth place on the UCI World Ranking and 12th place on the Women's WorldTour ranking. The victories came from Bastianelli, who opened the season with a win at Vuelta CV Feminas. That was her only win of the season, unfortunately, but other standout rides came from newcomer Garcia, who was second at Strade Bianche and then won double titles in the time trial and road race at the Spanish National Championships and two stages at the Tour de l'Ardeche. National title victories also came from Slovenian road race champion Urša Pintar, Slovenian time trial champion Urška Žigart, and Thailand road race champion Jutatip Maneephan.
Marta Bastianelli: A former world champion and one-day race specialist, Bastianelli carries the team's highest hopes for success in 2021. She won her world title in 2007 and has gone on to win Spring Classics - Gent-Wevelgem, Ronde van Drenthe, and Tour of Flanders. She was on a one-day race winning roll in 2018 and 2019, but that momentum seemed to have stopped temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic and the truncated season last year. She suffered an injury and was also stuck in quarantine with her team during the October Classics. Watch for her to be back on top of the one-day races this season.
Mavi Garcia: Worth every penny, Garcia joined the team last year from Movistar and at first no one really knew how the Spaniard would fair on the Italian team. However, Garcia had one of her best seasons to date, with second place at Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa and Strade Bianche, double wins at her national championships, and then two stage wins and second overall at the Tour de l'Ardeche. She is one of the most exciting riders to watch in 2021.
Marlen Reusser: She started cycling later in life but had a lot of success in the last two seasons. She joins the team from the now-folded Equipe Paule Ka and had strong performances with fifth overall at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana and seventh at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It was in the time trials where she excelled, winning the Swiss time trial title, podium performances in both individual and team time trials at the European Championships, and second at the Imola World Championships (she was also top 10 in the road race).
The team are very strong in the one-day races largely due to talents like Bastianelli, who they can rally around and support as a contender for victories. They also have strong sprinters and specialists for flatter races in Anna Trevisi, Anastasiia Chursina, Maaike Boogaard, Laura Tomasi, and Eugenia Bujak, and an all-round road captain in former world champion Tatiana Guderzo. This is the team that excels in the one-day races.
The team have, so far, lacked a GC contender. They don't have someone to support in a race like the Giro Rosa. However, the addition of riders like Garcia (last year), and Reusser and Sophie Wright (this year), give the team more cards to play on different types of terrain.
Alé BTC Ljubljana Cipollini look set for ample success again in the one-day races again, especially with Bastianelli in the Spring Classics. We can expect to also see the team more involved in mountainous stage races, time trials and breakaways with riders like Garcia, Reusser and Wright.
The team is more well-rounded than they have been in year's past and that will show across the various terrain and races on the Women's WorldTour.
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.