Blue duo to stay for three additional years: Colombian looking forward to build on best pro season to date; Serbian on right path after injuries, won again in 2022.
The Movistar Team continues to work on a solid foundation to its women’s team’s future as it has signed contract extensions with two of its best riders: Jelena Erić (Kraljevo, SRB; 1996) and Paula Patiño (La Ceja, Antioquia, COL; 1997). The two Blues, who already had a contract with the Spanish outfit for 2023, will stay for an additional two years with Sebastián Unzué’s squad, their relationship with the team now expiring on 31st December 2025.
Erić was able to make the winning Giro d’Italia Donne squad after getting over a series of difficult injuries in the early months of 2022. In May, she rose her arms victorious for the second time in the international scene -won the final stage of the Vuelta a Andalucía- and, after securing yet another national road race title in June, she went on to shine at this September’s Tour de l’Ardèche, taking 2nd on stage six and up to five top-ten finishes in a race where she acted as super-luxury domestique for Patiño.
The Colombian produced impressive results in 2022: she was 4th in Andalucía, 6th in Eibar, got to the podium -her first in the international peloton- in Irurtzun (3rd), got top-ten GC results in two WWT events, the Itzulia (9th) and the Vuelta a Burgos (10th); was key to the Giro and Tour success with her excellent teamwork; and finished 3rd overall in Ardèche, his first career GC podium in an European stagerace.
Jelena Erić: “I’m so happy with how things turned out in the end this year. Despite all troubles and injuries I had to go through early this year, I was able to overcome it, get some good results and be part of the team’s success. The Giro was incredible: fighting all together, giving our best for Annemiek — she’s someone who never disappoints, it was a privilege to be there. Going into the future, the goal obviously has to be to keep growing and taking some more steps forward as a rider, and also be there when it’s needed to support our leaders get those big results, just like Annemiek will do smashing everyone before she retires (smiles). I’m looking forward to those steps ahead with the group, and hopefully I can also bring some individual results to the table to help the group.“
Paula Patiño: “This season was one of the finest for me, certainly. I was able to get myself to a strong fitness level which helped me completing great races, especially from the month of April and all the way down to these final races of the season. I’m so happy and proud to have also been able to make part of the Giro-Tour double, it’s been one of the biggest experiences of my career — those titles with Annemiek, who, other than a superb athlete, is such a great person. Our hopes for the upcoming three years have to be an improvement all around as a rider. I’m now more experienced and mature, and this year I realized I can really get to a high level, fighting next to the top contenders. I’m now becoming self-aware of everything I can do, and I can’t wait to tackle the next three years together with this great team. I’m so proud to be part of the Movistar Team family!”
Sebastián Unzué: “Both Paula and Jelena are crucial to our group, part of its core. They both signed three-year contracts with us in 2020, and their performances and hard work have made them deserve another long-term extension. I’m so grateful to them for the confidence they’ve always shown to this team — they wanted to remain part of this and they make things so easy for us. Paula took in 2022 a huge step forward, becoming one of the most consistent climbers in the WorldTour. I’m certain there can’t be more than 15 riders in the world who climb better than her. Having her in both the Giro and the Tour this year is a proof of her quality; she’s a key rider in the mountains, and she’s improved so much over the last few years.
“Jelena is such a great allrounder, one who has been able to take advantage of her opportunities when given individual chances, but most importantly, as a team rider, she’s invaluable. She’s so intelligent, she’s got so much racecraft, talented on the bike, reads other teams’ tactics and helps us into the team car to understand better — having someone like her in the team, with such quality and experience despite her youth, is tremendous for the team. With her, and such a strong group we’re building, we’re getting into the future with lots of excitement.”