British 17-year-old Cat Ferguson will become one of the youngest riders ever to compete in cycling's highest tier, joining Movistar next year.
Cycling Weekly reported last week that the teenager had signed her first professional contract and will join a women’s WorldTour squad from August 2024, with the team undisclosed at that time. One source said it is “very, very big”, and it has now been confirmed as Movistar.
This season, Ferguson has competed on team-issue Trek-Segafredo and Movistar bikes, likely on loan from the squads. The latter has now been confirmed as her destination, and she will join as a trainee for the latter half of 2024, with a three-year contract following.
The Brit, a first year junior, is expected to skip the latter part of her second year at junior level, and go straight to the pro ranks as a trainee. The last British rider to do this was Zoe Bäckstedt, who joined EF Education-TIBCO-SVB in August 2022, and went on to compete for the American WorldTour squad as a 17-year-old that month.
Ferguson will turn 18 in April, three months before her contract begins.
She will continue to race with her current team in cyclo-cross and road next season, but she will make join Movistar's training camps and start working with the squad’s performance team immediately, according to the squad.
“It’s a dream come true to soon turn pro with the Movistar Team," Ferguson said. "From our first meeting it felt like such a welcoming and family environment, with a great focus on developing my attributes at WorldTour level.
"I look forward to learning from the best and most experienced riders in the world, and couldn’t think of a better team to help me make the step up to elite cycling. First, I want to close out my junior CX and road seasons, hopefully achieving some big wins.”
Currently, Ferguson rides for the Yorkshire-based team Shibden Hope Tech Apex, and has shone in her first year as a junior.
She won on her Nations Cup debut with Great Britain at the Piccolo Trofeo Alfredo Binda, then aged just 16, two years younger than other riders on the start list. Speaking to Cycling Weekly earlier this year, Ferguson said the victory was “quite a shock”.
Following the race in Scotland, Ferguson said: “If you told me at the start of the season I’d come second here, I’d be so happy.
“I definitely felt a bit of pressure as I've won two Nations Cups on quite a similar course to this as well, so I felt like I was the favourite coming in. But equally, pressure gives you adrenaline. It helps you. So as a first year, I felt less pressure because I knew I had a whole other year.”
Ferguson will be 18 years and 96 days old when she steps up to WorldTour level next August.
The youngest ever rider to sign for a men’s WorldTour team is Quinn Simmons, who was 18 years and 238 days old when he joined Trek-Segafredo in 2020, then the junior road world champion.
Bäckstedt remains the only 17-year-old to join a women's WorldTour squad, doing so 54 days shy of her 18th birthday.
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