Cogeas-Mettler apply for 2022 Women’s WorldTour status, confirm eight riders

VILLARCAYO SPAIN MAY 21 Olga Zabelinskaya of Uzbekistan and Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team during the 6th Vuelta A Burgos Feminas 2021 Stage 2 a 97km stage from Pedrosa de Valdeporres to Villarcayo VueltaBurgos BurgosFem UCIWWT on May 21 2021 in Villarcayo Spain Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Olga Zabelinskaya of Uzbekistan and Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team during the 6th Vuelta A Burgos (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Continental team Cogeas-Mettler have applied for Women’s WorldTeam status and are to be named Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad in 2022, after securing the backing of baked goods brand Roland.

Team president Ruben Contreras, owner of the Cogeas group, told Cyclingnews that his team hopes to become the first Swiss outfit in the Women’s WorldTour. The name ‘Edelweiss’ is a nod to the Swiss national flower. 

“What is important for the Cogeas group and the Roland group is that we enter the WorldTour, because it’s very important for Switzerland to have a WorldTour team,” Contreras said. 

The team, currently registered in Russia but based in Lausanne, will be registered in Switzerland for 2022. 

“Roland is such a big Swiss company and a big sponsor in alpine and cross-country skiing, mountain biking with Jolanda Neff, and in biathlon, so they’re a very significant group in the development of Swiss sport. The partnership with Roland gives us the ability to step up to a higher level.”

The move from Continental level to WorldTour will see the current team’s 14-rider roster shrink to ten. 

“We have eight riders, and we are hoping to add two more. Currently we have received over 30 applications, so we are looking at our options and certainly we will be able to select the two final riders.” 

Contreras told Cyclingnews that six riders from the existing Continental squad will ride for the team next year: Petra Stiasny (Switzerland), Hannah Buch (Germany), Olga Zabelinskaya (Uzbekistan) and the Russian trio of Diana Klimova, Tamara Dronova and Gulnaz Khatuntseva. They have also signed Swiss track cyclist Aline Seitz, and Inés Cantera of Spanish outfit Sopela. 

Five teams have applied for six available UCI Women’s WorldTour licences, and though they were a surprise inclusion in the list of applicants, Contreras believes his team have done what is necessary to be granted the top-level status. 

“All the documentation that they asked for, everything is in order, including the bank guarantee of €150,000. They have accepted all of our documentation. We weren’t missing a single page, everything was correct.”

On the new sponsorship, Contreras says Roland have offered two years of support, with the option of two more years. His own company, Cogeas, will continue sponsoring the team “for a minimum of five years”, and he expects his long-standing relationship with bike manufacturer Look to continue. 

Though their first priority is to gain WorldTour status, Cogeas already have ambitious plans for the future, including attracting new long-term sponsors and forming a women’s development team.

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Matilda Price is a freelance cycling journalist and digital producer based in the UK. She is a graduate of modern languages, and recently completed an MA in sports journalism, during which she wrote her dissertation on the lives of young cyclists. Matilda began covering cycling in 2016 whilst still at university, working mainly in the British domestic scene at first. Since then, she has covered everything from the Tour Series to the Tour de France. These days, Matilda focuses most of her attention on the women’s sport, writing for Cyclingnews and working on women’s cycling show The Bunnyhop. As well as the Women’s WorldTour, Matilda loves following cyclo-cross and is a recent convert to downhill mountain biking.