2020 Team Preview: Alé BTC Ljubljana

Pat Malach
 Alé BTC Ljubljana 2020
Alé BTC Ljubljana 2020

Who?

The Italian team that has raced as Alé Cipollini since 2014 added Slovenian company BTC as a second title sponsor, with the team name changing to Alé BTC Ljubljana for 2020 and a handful of riders from the former BTC Ljubljana squad coming over. The Women’s WorldTour team that traces their lineage back to 2011 as Mcipollini-Giordana now features just three Italian riders and four Slovenians among the 12-rider 2020 roster. 

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Manager: Fortunato Lacquaniti
Team Size: 12

How did they fare in 2019?

Alé Cipollini took 16 victories in 2019, including high-profile Women’s WorldTour wins at Tour of Guangxi and Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta by sprinter Chloe Hosking, who took four wins in 2019 but has departed for Rally Cycling. Soraya Paladin, the Italian who moved to CCC-Liv this year, brought home five victories, including two stages at Vuleta a Burgos, a stage at the Giro Toscana, plus a stage and the overall at Giro del Marche. Jelena Erić, who took victories at the Serbian championships and the BeNe Tour, moved to Movistar, while Vuelta a Burgos stage winner Karlijn Swinkels moved to Parkhotel Valkenberg. Eri Yonamine, the only 2019 winner to remain with the team, won both the Japanese time trial and road race titles. 

Wins: 16
WWT ranking: 10th

Key Riders

Marta Bastianelli – The 2007 road race world champion is back on the Italian squad after spending one season with Bjarne Riis' Team Virtu, where she thrived. Bastianelli took 11 wins last year, including the Italian road race championship. Women's WorldTour wins at Tour of Flanders and Ronde van Drenthe cemented her spot as one of the top  riders in the peloton. She'll be a formidable leaders for the Italian squad as it reshapes itself for the future.

Tatiana Guderzo – The 2009 road race world champion hasn't scored a win since 2017, but she was one of the original team riders on Mcipollini-Giordana in 2011 and stayed with the program until she departed for Hitec Products in 2015. She raced for BePink the past two seasons and seems to be comfortable in Italian squads, so the move back to the Alé program where she is familiar should be even better. The 35-year-old is getting closer to retirement, but she's committed to trying to make the 2020 Olympic team and will be motivated to do well in the early season.

Eri Yonamine – The Japanese rider is the only winner from the 2019 roster returning for this season, and with the departure of other proven leaders like Hosking, she'll step up into a leadership role even further this year. Look for the five-time Japanese road race champion and six-time individual time trial champion to excel in the stage races with difficult climbing.

Eugenia Bujak
Eugenia Bujak

Strengths

The team underwent major changes this year after operating for six stable seasons under the same sponsorship arrangement. That changed this year by bringing on BTC City and the former BTC Ljubljana team. Ten riders on the 2020 squad are new, and 11 left for other pastures, including most of the riders who were bringing home victories. Although big changeover is often a mixed bag, the new energy should invigorate the squad, and the return of Bastianelli is a major coup. Alé BTC Ljubljana should be a force in the one-day Classics this year, especially with Gudzero back in the fold as well. 

Weaknesses

The team's breath of fresh air means that a lot of their proven entities are gone, and large chunks of the roster are now a bit unknown. Bastianelli and Gudzero have proven themselves, but they'll need a lot of support if they want to pluck any of the season's major plumbs. 

Verdict

The new formation is a work in progress. Trying to jell a basically brand-new squad together can be difficult, but not impossible, especially if some of the new components are already familiar with each other. The team will definitely get some wins with Bastianelli, but whether they can maintain a top-10 position in the Women's WorldTour is in question.

2020 line-up

  • Marta Bastianelli

  • Maaike Boogaard

  • Urška Bravec

  • Eugenia Bujak

  • Anastasiia Chursina

  • Mavi Garcia

  • Tatiana Guderzo

  • Jutatip Maneephan

  • Urša Pintar

  • Anna Trevisi

  • Eri Yonamine

  • Urška Žigart 

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