If the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt in the normal course of the entire cycling season, the blow was much greater on formative and grassroots cycling. Much of their schedule was postponed or cancelled until a better time even when circumstances and authorities allowed a return to racing. Even the alternative calendar was not definitive. Nevertheless, in an atypical campaign, the junior structure of the Contador Foundation had a very outstanding season, which began in Don Benito with the Circuito del Guadiana, and continued with the Trofeo Cabedo. Then came the confinement, the obligation to stay at home and the alternation between domestic training and curricular obligations. With no races on the horizon and no concrete prospects, all the riders showed their maturity by managing a period as strange as it was unknown, always intense in the emotional sense. In July the competition would return with the Vuelta al Besaya, a race in which the structure directed by Guillermo Gutiérrez put on a great performance and revolutionised the last stage with victories in the final general for Arnau Gilabert. Interesting performances of the team took place in the Vuelta a Talavera, in the novel Challenge La Subbética or in the Cursa del Llobregat that would end up closing the Spanish Cup. Finally José Luis Medina, Alejandro Luna and Arnau Gilabert were promoted to the U23 team of the Foundation, with Francesc Bennassar or Pedro Beneit making the jump to other structures.
Many and very good riders have passed through the discipline of the youth team since its birth, but the 2019 squad will have its own space not only within the collective imagination of the Alberto Contador Foundation, but in the cycling sport itself at the national level. The 2019 campaign not only maintained the great harvest of results, but also had a great group that performed at a high level throughout the year. Carlos Rodríguez, Raúl García, Javier Serrano, Fernando Tercero, Gerard Bofill and Juanjo Rosal were the foundation of more than thirty victories.
The victories arrived soon, already in the Circuit of the Guadiana of the category, and were prolonged through the representation of several cyclists in the Spanish youthful selection in the Volta a Valencia elite and sub23. I shine from February until September. The Spanish Cup, with partial victories in five of his six races, victory in his definitive general and dominion of the final podium, or an outstanding Vuelta al Besaya in which the victory in the general final was specified and a formidable group performance unfolded they condense the sports evolution of the campaign of the riders directed by Guillermo Gutiérrez and prepared by Jorge Ramos. Bizkaiko Itzulia, Gipuzkoa Klasika or the Vuelta a la Ribera del Duero were other races in which important victories were achieved.
The successes have also extended to other races, especially in stages, and have also reached beyond the Spanish borders, with the Tour de Gironde at the head. Once again the Foundation was host to foreign cyclists, with Dylan Van der Borre taking part in the Bizkaiko Itzulia and his compatriots Nils Verheyen and Yaaron Logghe competing in the Vuelta a Valladolid. Gerard Bofill and Pablo Gutiérrez also had the opportunity to race the Aubel-Thimister-Stavelot. The culmination of such an outstanding year came with the jump directly to the World Tour by Carlos Rodríguez or the promotion to the continental category by Javi Serrano.
The sixth season of the junior structure of the Fundación Alberto Contador has been the most successful not only in terms of triumphs, with the achievement of the desired first victory in the final overall of the prestigious Vuelta al Besaya, but also in terms of the collective. A very complete campaign where the Polartec-Kometa junior transferred his firm team spirit to the roads with very good group performances, concreted with several successes in general by teams (Spanish Cup, Vuelta al Besaya, Vuelta a Valladolid, Clasica Premundial de Beasain, Vuelta a Talavera). A great year that, in addition, had its reflection in the attentions towards the riders so much of different autonomic federative estates as especially of the own Spanish selection of the category. In this sense, Carlos Rodríguez and Álex Martín were frequently summoned.
Precisely the andalusian Rodríguez, his sixth in a Paris-Roubaix, and the Catalan Martín, who has made the jump to the U23 category of the Kometa Cycling Team command held by the Foundation in the amateur field, have been two of the most outstanding names from a media perspective, always supported by the not always visible work of their colleagues, with Manu Garrido or the Portuguese Daniel Lopes at the front. Rodríguez won the Spanish Cup and the Bizkaiko Bira; Martín did the same in the Vuelta al Besaya or the Tour of l´Ain in France. The Cantabrian appointment, with Martin and Rodriguez in the fight for the final victory and a common work in pursuit of a structural objective, synthesizes the spirit of the year.
Within the framework of their growing work of exchange with foreign structures, again in 2018 Belgian, several foreign runners competed with the team in some tests of the Spanish calendar. This was the case of the Belgians Nathan Decuypere, Davide Bomboi, Gilles Vercruysse and Alex Vandenbulcke, or the British Harrison Wood.
This season marks the fifth year of the founding of the Junior Team and the fourth of the Under-23 Team and the Pinto Cycling School. The Alberto Contador Foundation has already reached a point of maturity that will allow us to take on new challenges in the next future, thanks also to the commitment of our sponsors, especially Polartec, who has assumed the responsibility of being the main sponsor of the teams for the two next seasons. Together with Polartec this year have joined our project Skoda and Kometa as main suppliers, while continue Rotor and Etixx one more season, completing the first line of suppliers. It is also worth mentioning the arrival of partners such as TM Real Estate Group, KASK, KOO, HP Sports Science and Gaerne.
The Polartec teams of the Alberto Contador Foundation face a season in which they intend to go even deeper into the internationalization of the project, both with new incorporations of different nationalities and with a calendar that aims to lead our cyclists to compete for a growing number of races of the European calendar with the aim of facilitating to the maximum its ascent to the maximum category. The Polartec Junior team has thirteen riders this year and for the first time two of them are not Spanish. Belgian Axel Clausse and Czech Jakub Pilecek are the first sign of the internationalization of the team directed by Félix García Casas and Guillermo Gutiérrez.
The arrival of RH+ and Polartec as title sponsors of the Alberto Contador Foundation has marked a milestone in the evolution of this project, also guaranteeing its continuity in the medium term. In the same way, the arrival of a new bicycle brand, Look, has been a great contribution for next seasons, guaranteeing a first quality material to all riders.
In its fourth season, the performance of the RH+/Polartec Junior team has been excellent and it has continued as one of the referents of the Spanish and European peloton, where significant victories have been achieved, such as the team time trial of the Tour des Portes du Pays D’Othe in France, and the Spanish Cup by teams.
The team has continued its training by going to both the best events on the Spanish and European calendar, with the aim of reaching the highest possible level of sport. The Campus of Selection of new riders, in which each year the new members of the team are chosen, has made Zaragoza a place of appointment for the best cadets of the country.
By 2015 the team has become one of the references in Spain and continues with the same line of work, highlighting the importance of the group and competing for victory in each race. The team continues to show as one of the calendar’s dominators.
It revalidates the triumph in the Vuelta al Besaya, where Juan Pedro Lopez takes 2nd place; at Itzulia came the team’s and individual victories with Tomeu Gelabert. The same result is achieved in the Cabedo Trophy, with the team’s and individual victories thanks to Guillem Cassú. Other milestones are the victories of Guillem Cassú in Torhout (Belgium) and the Spanish Cup by Teams.
The year 2014 is crucial in the history of Alberto Contador Foundation since the U23 team is launched for giving continuity to Junior’s riders, which in turn are secured as one of the references teams in Spain.
Victories by teams are achieved in almost all of the tours where the junior team participates. The team revalidates the triumph in the Vuelta al Besaya, where Miguel Angel Ballesteros and Diego Pablo Sevilla also reach the podium, completing a remarkable performance of the whole team. Fernando Barceló take victories in Trofeo Cabedo and Cantabrian Circuit, and the team acts as one the great ruler in stage races.
Another victory in Belgium was achieved by Angel Fuentes, where the team debuted in the Tour of Flanders of this category. The team wins the Cup of Spain and Miguel Angel Ballesteros finishes second.
It is the year of birth of the cycling club, which begins in the Junior category with great enthusiasm and eager to be able to quickly know the category and achieve a good level in the Spanish squad.
In this year team’s victories very importants are already achieved, such as the Tour of Besaya, where Alvaro Cuadros also managed a single victory on the summit of Peña Cabarga; or Bizkaiko Itzlulia where the team struggled for overall victory all the way with Enric Mas.
Iosu Angoitia achieved the first victory of the team out of Spain by winning Izegem (Belgium), confirming riders’ high quality. But undoubtedly the best result came by the hands of Fernando Barceló, to claim victory in the Cup of Spain, acompanied on the final podium by Diego Pablo Sevilla.