23-year-old Serbian combines great team support abilities with sprinting potential and good strategical skills; Italian, 28, hopes to become a road captain for the Blues with her vast experience -more than a decade in the pro peloton- and strong power for the sprints.
The Movistar Team announced Friday that Barbara Guarischi (Lecco, ITA; 1990), from Team Virtu, and Jelena Erić (Kraljevo, SRB; 1996), member of the Alé Cipollini squad, have both signed two-year contracts (2020 + 2021) with the Teléfonica-backed squad, which make them become the Blues’ first two additions to their roster for their third season in cycling.
Guarischi will add her enormous experience to the group directed by Sebastián Unzué and Jorge Sanz: despite being just 28, she’s already spent eleven years racing UCI events. A great rouleur with a very strong sprint, her palmarès includes a stage win in the Giro (2015), another one in the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour (2019) and victories in the now-defunct Trophée d’Or, Route de France -both in 2014- and the Sparkassen Giro from the UCI World Cup (2015).
In turn, Erić signs with the Movistar Team few weeks after claiming her best pro victory, a stage in the BeNe Ladies Tour, where she proved her strategical skills and power with a strong break effort against top sprinters. An 11-time national champion -currently holding both road race and time trial titles-, the Balkan also finished 2nd -to Lourdes Oyarbide- on the final stage of the Vuelta a Burgos.
“These are two strong reinforcements, two riders who have plenty to offer to this sport,” explains Sebastián Unzué, manager for the women’s Movistar Team. “Erić is already a world-class domestique for all kinds of races, yet she’s got potential to reach even further. Aged just 23, with huge room for improvement and good sprinting abilities -we’ve already seen at the BeNe Ladies Tour she knows how to finish off a break-, her signing is a major improvement for the team in all areas, and offers us a stronger chance to contest victories at many events.
Guarischi is already a veteran, despite being just 28. She’s raced for many different organisations, knows the peloton well and has taken part in all the big races in the WorldTour, which will be a boost of experience for our roster. She’ll be an important asset to us in the classics, and we’re also confident she’ll be able to get her speed back and contest some sprints during the season. With Barbara, we aim to have a ‘sports director on the bike’, a woman who helps us find a good position in the bunch and tackle different race situations with intelligence and skill.”
Cover picture (c): Velofocus