Countdown to the start of a new edition of the Copa de España (Spanish Cup) Elite U23, on 27 February in the town of Don Benito, Badajoz, and the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) has made official last Monday which are the twelve teams that have an invitation to all the races that make up the tournament. Among them, for yet another season, the U23 structure of the Contador Foundation. In December, the Spanish Association of Organisers of Elite and Under-23 Cycling Events had already announced twenty teams that will be able to participate, including all the teams on this list.

This is a special edition of the Spanish Cup, in that the planning of all its races is framed within its usual dates after two particularly complicated seasons due to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the evolution of the calendar. The experience of the last two years, however, makes it clear that the evolution of the health situation in the different geographical areas may once again bring about some changes. The starting point, however, is that of a certain degree of normality in this respect.

The team led by Rafa Díaz Justo from Toledo and Italian Dario Andriotto, which will compete for the second year under the name EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team, faces with special motivation the next edition of a competition whose development will follow one after the other almost without pause until May 15. Only two weekends, 26-27 March and 16-17 April, will not host any of the events that will be worth points for the classification.

Along with EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team, the other eleven selected squads are Brocar-Ale, Caja Rural-Alea, Drone Hopper-Gsport-Grupo Tormo, Gomur-Cantabria-Infinita, Lizarte, Previley-Maglia-Coforma-Bembibre, Supermercados Froiz, Telco’m-On Clima-Osés, Ulevel-Safirfruits, Valverde Team-Ricardo Fuentes and Vigo-Rias Baixas.

The U23 team of the Contador Foundation has been one of the great animators of a competition that, as far as the final overall is concerned, is in its showcases by teams (2016 edition) but still resists it individually, although several of its riders have provisionally worn the leader’s jersey. Alejandro Ropero from Granada finished second overall in the 2019 edition and Vicente Hernaiz from Valladolid finished third in 2020. Juan Pedro López and David Martín, both from Seville, came close to the final podium with their fourth places in the 2018 and 2021 editions, respectively.

Juan Pedro López, winner of the 2018 Trofeo Guerrita in Murcia, and David Martín, double winner of the Memorial Ángel Lozano in Valladolid (2020, 2021) and the Gran Premio Primavera in La Mancha (2021), have signed cup successes that are accompanied by more podiums and positions of honour in other races with the signatures of Alejandro Ropero, José Antonio ‘Joselillo’ García. Álex Martín and Joan Martí Bennassar, among others.

The 2022 U23 Elite Spanish Cup is made up of eleven races: Circuito del Guadiana (27 February), Trofeo Guerrita – Memorial Juan Romero and Diego Sánchez (6 March), Aiztondo Klasika (13 March), Memorial Momparler (20 March), Gran Premio Primavera (21 March), Clásica Ciudad de Torredonjimeno (3 April), Memorial Valenciaga (10 April), Memorial Ángel Lozano (24 April), Santikutz Klasika (1 May), Clásica de Pascua (7 May) and Vigo Copa de España (15 May).

📷 Maurizio Borserini