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Movistar women's team sparking 'huge levels of interest'

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Endura showed off the 2018 Movistar Team jersey

Endura showed off the 2018 Movistar Team jersey
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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Movistar team boss Eusebio Unzue during the press conference

Movistar team boss Eusebio Unzue during the press conference
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rachel Neylan signs on

Rachel Neylan signs on
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Aude Biannic at the Giro Rosa

Aude Biannic at the Giro Rosa
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Malgorzata Jasinska (Cylance)

Malgorzata Jasinska (Cylance)
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The Elite podium. Left to right: Mavi García (Bizkaia-Durango, silver medal), Sheyla Gutiérrez (Cylance Pro Cycling, gold medal) and Ane Santesteban (Alé-Cipollini, here racing in the Basque outfit, bronze medal)

The Elite podium. Left to right: Mavi García (Bizkaia-Durango, silver medal), Sheyla Gutiérrez (Cylance Pro Cycling, gold medal) and Ane Santesteban (Alé-Cipollini, here racing in the Basque outfit, bronze medal)
(Image credit: Alberto Brevers)

Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue has been running bike teams for nearly half a century, but he says he has “never seen” such huge levels of interest as the support the squad’s new women’s team has garnered. And that’s before it’s even begun to race.

Made up of 10 riders in its first year, 2018 will be the first time that the Navarre-based Movistar squad, which began in 1980, has its own women’s team - which is also Spain’s third.

“The team was born as part of collaboration with a government campaign for sponsors to help women’s sport in Spain, and our parent sponsor, Telefonica, was willing to do that,” Unzue explained on Friday in a press conference.

“They asked us to form a women’s team. The truth is that originally, as we barely knew about the subject, we were cautious about how we were going to approach it all.

“But the women’s team has generated a great deal of support from the general public even before it’s started, right across the board. In fact, I’ve never seen so much interest and support in such a new sports project.”

The fledgling womens’ team and the mens’ team have been riding and building towards the new season this week in a training camp held near Pamplona, staying in the same hotel and using the same logistical back-up.

“Fortunately, with the backing of Telefonica and all our sponsors, we’ve been able to count on a lot of support," Unzue said. “And the women’s team has got an identical level of infrastructure and backing as the mens’ team.

“It’ll be a tough start, I’m sure, all new projects are until they find their feet. But I’m confident they’ll live up to expectations and do a great job.”