Movistar Team have announced their first signing for the 2022 season, and it comes from the women's side of the squad with young climbing talent Sarah Gigante set to join the Spanish team.
Gigante, who is joining from American-based team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank, has shown that she has huge potential in the sport as, after winning on Willunga Hill in the one-off event of the Santos Festival of Cycling at the start of 2021.
She has also claimed multiple national TT titles and the road race jersey in 2019.
Gigante said: "I’m incredibly excited to be joining the Movistar Team next year, for so many different reasons that I can’t even list them all! The top drawcard is definitely the squad of awesome riders that I will have the privilege of calling my team-mates.
"I am sure I will be able to learn an incredible amount from the more experienced cyclists and it will be fun to help them smash out wins while hopefully also developing my own race craft and strength alongside the other up-and-coming riders."
The 20-year-old has plenty of experience racing in Europe, having ridden a full Belgian Classics schedule earlier this year, her best result coming in Dwars door Vlaanderen where she finished in the second group on the road behind winner and Movistar rider Annemiek van Vleuten.
Gigante has had relatively few race days this season however, having race just nine one-day races in the spring, before she flew out to Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
There Gigante finished 40th in the challenging road race and put in a promising performance to finish 11th in the time trial.
In signing with Movistar, she will ride alongside one of the most dominant riders in the world, Van Vleuten.
Gigante said: "I have been a fan of Annemiek van Vleuten in particular for so many years and it feels quite surreal to think that we will be team-mates very soon! I still remember lining up to get a photo with her in Belgium just two years ago."
Team manager, Sebastián Unzué, added: "Sarah is one of the biggest under-23 prospects in the whole international peloton right now. She’s a really well rounded athlete, who defends herself brilliantly against the clock, who loves the mountains, and one whom I think will be a huge asset to the team from day one.
"Our initial goal with her must be to help her out and guide her so she can become the best rider she can be – in that respect, I think that having her riding alongside big leaders, such as Annemiek or Emma [Norsgaard], will be really positive for her progression. Hopefully, the road to 2024 will see her growing strong and establishing herself as one of the biggest names in the sport."
The Australian is also a part-time student at Melbourne University where she is studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Geography, but Gigante enjoys the balancing act between the sport and her studies: "I like having this balance, as studying gives me extra goals that I can focus on and it means that not quite everything in my life is focused on cycling. I love the sport so much that if I didn’t do uni, I’d probably be thinking about my bike 24 hours a day."
This signing comes after American rider Leah Thomas was announced to be leaving Movistar in favour of a move to American squad Trek-Segafredo.
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I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.
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