Ten new riders have been named to the final 2021 roster for A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team, a Continental squad which formerly raced as Astana Women's Team, for a “significantly strengthened squad” of 13 riders representing seven countries.
One of the key signings is Eider Merino from the Women’s WorldTour Movistar squad. The 26-year-old Spanish rider is considered to be a pure climber who has twice finished third overall at the Tour de l'Ardèche, including a mountaintop stage win at the French race in 2018. She also had top 10s at the Giro Rosa (2018) and Emakumeen Bira (2019).
Three riders from Latin American have been signed to support team leader Arlenis Sierra of Cuba, who won the 2019 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and was runner-up in 2020, and returning rider Yareli Salazar of Mexico, who won a stage at the 2020 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana – Costa Rican Maria José Vargas, and the Mexican duo of Ariadna Gutiérrez and Andrea Ramírez.
Vargas won the road race at the 2019 Central American Championships and took the silver medal this year. The 24-year-old won a stage and the points classification at the 2018 Vuelta Internacional Femenina a Costa Rica.
Ramírez, 21, is the reigning time trial champion of Mexico and was seventh in the last edition of the Tour Down Under. At 29, Gutiérrez is the most veteran of the team. A two-time Mexican road race champion, she took the Pan American road title in 2019.
Moving from the now-defunct Equipe Paule Ka team is Italian Maria Vittoria Sperotto. She will join three other Italians on the team, returning rider Katia Ragusa, who was third in the Giro Rosa mountains classification, and 18-year-old newcomers Maria Pia Chiatto and Emma Faoro.
Three additional under-23 riders round out the roster - Jade Teolis of France, Maria Novolodskaya and Mariia Miliaeva, both of Russia. Novolodskaya finished fifth overall in the best young rider and mountain classification at this year’s Giro Rosa.
Now in its seventh year, team remains registered in Italy and managed by Maurizio Babretto.
"The team will be strong and we are convinced that we have strengthened it a lot; we have kept the ones that have done best in the last season and we have added several important elements," he said earlier in December.
The team also announced that Aldo Piccolo will continue as sports director, and David Plaza would join team management, moving from the Mexican-based Continental team Agolico where he spent the last two years.
A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling roster for 2021
- Maria José Vargas (CRC)
- Arlenis Sierra (CUB)
- Jade Teolis (FRA)
- Maria Pia Chiatto (ITA)
- Emma Faoro (ITA)
- Katia Ragusa (ITA)
- Maria Vittoria Sperotto (ITA)
- Ariadna Gutiérrez (MEX)
- Andrea Ramírez (MEX)
- Yareli Salazar (MEX)
- Mariia Miliaeva (RUS)
- Maria Novolodskaya (RUS)
- Eider Merino (ESP)
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