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Legal constraints prohibit Sofia Bertizzolo from signing with Movistar

Sofia Bertizzolo (Virtu)
Sofia Bertizzolo (Virtu) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Movistar Team Women announced Monday that legal constraints permit Sofia Bertizzolo from competing with the Spanish outfit in 2020. The 22-year-old Italian had signed a two-year contract with Movistar, however, her existing contract with the Italy's national Polizia di Stato legally prevent her from holding two full-time jobs. 

Movistar, registered in Spain, has applied to be a top-tier Women's WorldTeam next year and so is obligated to pay their riders a minimum annual salary of €15,000 (employed) or €24,600 (self employed).

"The regulations regarding UCI Women's WorldTour teams, a category the Movistar Team is aiming for in 2020 through a WWT license, prevent the existence of dual work contracts, which in practice keeps Bertizzolo from starting her contract with the Blues on January 1st," read the statement from Movistar. 

"After exploring every option available, and establishing that it is impossible to properly combine both situations, the Movistar Team can only wish Sofia the best with her future sporting endeavours."

Although riders are not permitted to work for any other team or advertise for any other sponsors than those belonging to the Women's WorldTeam, Cyclingnews understands that there is no direct rule issued by the UCI that prohibits riders contracted for Women's WorldTeams from having a secondary source of income.

Cyclingnews understands that athletes from nations such as Italy, Germany and France, among others, who have paid full-time contracts through the government are not permitted to simultaneously hold paid full-time contracts of employment elsewhere. 

Bertizzolo would either have to give up her government contract in order to sign with a Women's WorldTeam or instead compete with a second-tier UCI Continental team that is not obliged to offer riders a base salary.

Bertizzolo has taken to social media to confirm her situation saying that Italian law prevents a female cyclist from signing professional contracts. She stated that while there are exceptions to this rule in Italy, such self-employed contract adjustments would not be legal in accordance with Spanish employment laws.

Movistar announced in August that Bertizzolo had signed a two-year contract that would see her competing with the team through 2021. She currently races for Team Virtu Cycling, but was left without a team for next season when Bjarne Riis announced he would shut down the women's programme at the end of the year.

Movistar manager Sebastián Unzué had said that she was a priority signing for the team and that she would have been given opportunities to progress her talents in the classics finals and in the sport's biggest stage races.

Bertizzolo, 21, finished the season ranked third in the Women's WorldTour youth classification. This season she was fourth at the Tour of Flanders, second on the opening stage at Emakumeen Bira, and took top-10 stage finishes at the OVO Energy Women's Tour and Giro Rosa.

The women's Movistar Team roster for 2020 now features eleven riders: three signings – Katrine Aalerud, Jelena Erić and Barbara Guarischi – and eight members of the 2019 team: Aude Biannic, Alicia González, Sheyla Gutiérrez, Eider Merino, Lourdes Oyarbide, Paula Patiño, Gloria Rodríguez and Alba Teruel.

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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 bike racing from the 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 cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.