The Alé Cipollini team announced today it has signed on the Slovenian company BTC as a second title sponsor, with the team name changing to Alé BTC Ljubljana for 2020. The partnership will enable the squad to apply for UCI Women's WorldTour status through the 2023 season.
"I have always cherished cycling, it is in my DNA, as it is in that of the company I represent, but women's cycling means much more to me, it's not just a passion, it's a mission," team president Alessia Piccolo said.
"Being the president of this team is an honor and a huge responsibility. I'm constantly thinking about how I can give this beautiful team and to the women's cycling sector more prominence and more visibility. The partnership with BTC fills me with pride. Together, I'm sure we will be able to achieve great results and finally give to the women's cycling movement and to our team, that concrete impulse they both deserve."
BTC City is one of the biggest shopping and entertainment centres in Europe. The company's marketing director Maya Oven will be the new Vice President of the squad. Oven was the UCI representative for the BTC City Ljubljana women's team, but it is unclear whether the move is a merger between the two teams.
The UCI's is introducing two tiers for women's squads in 2020, with five teams in the highest WorldTour tier and the rest as UCI Women's Teams. The WorldTour status comes with minimum salaries and maternity leave, among other benefits. The obligations will require bigger budgets, and not all of the top women's squads have applied to obtain one of the five spots. So far eight teams: Trek-Segafredo, Canyon-SRAM, Mitchelton-Scott, CCC-Liv, Movistar, Team Sunweb, Ale-Cipollini, and FDJ have requested WorldTour licences.
The UCI will add five teams each year until 2022 when the tier will be held to 15 teams. In 2023, the UCI will require minimum salaries of the equivalent of a men's Pro Continental squad.
"We are very enthusiastic and proud of this new Italian-Slovene collaboration, which will enable the participation of the women cycling team Alé BTC Ljubljana at the UCI World Tour race series. This will be an opportunity for our cyclists to grow and continue their success story," Oven said. "Their participation at the UCI World Tour will also generate global promotion and enhance the brand reputation of the BTC company as well as of all other sponsors."