Equipo Kern Pharma to become UCI ProTeam in 2021
Spanish professional cycling team steps up after one year as a UCI Continental outfit
After its maiden season in the UCI Continental category, Equipo Kern Pharma will become a UCI ProTeam in 2021. The Spanish outfit, born from the Equipo Lizarte team where riders like Richard Carapaz, Marc Soler or Andrey Amador were first nurtured before becoming world-class cyclists, steps up to cycling’s second tier from which it aims to become a player in the elite of the sport.
For its first campaign in the UCI ranks, Equipo Kern Pharma put together a young, yet competitive roster, with 10 neo-pros and former Movistar Team riders Enrique Sanz and Jaime Castrillo to spearhead the squad. Sanz landed the team’s first victory in September, triumphing on the 3rd stage of UCI 2.1 stage race Belgrade-Banjaluka. Roger Adrià delivered a remarkable performance on the Picón Blanco stage of the Vuelta a Burgos, with a solo ride that was only two kilometres shy of sealing an outstanding victory. During the Spanish National Championships, the team controlled the road race and placed two riders amongst the top eleven finishers.
“A team like ours has to keep growing if it doesn’t want to stall,” says Manolo Azcona, founder of Equipo Lizarte back in 1993 and alma mater of Equipo Kern Pharma. “Our goal is to win a grand tour in the future. We know it’s a big call, but we are humble, driven and passionate. With time, patience and hard work, we can contend for victory in the world’s best races.”
“Our first season as a professional team has been thrilling,” says Equipo Kern Pharma’s and Equipo Lizarte’s Team Manager, former professional rider Juanjo Oroz. “This team is based on emotions. We are emotional, and we make people emotional. The mission to create a professional team arouse from the fact we were producing talents that, once in the pro ranks couldn’t develop to their best. Now, with the support of Kern Pharma, we have a clear vision for the future.”
“The making of this project has been a challenge for us,” says Raúl Díaz-Varela, President of Kern Pharma. “It was the first time we embarked in such a sponsorship. Creating a professional sports team like this has been really special. We feel proud of what we have achieved so far. We are going to support this team and push it forward towards new goals.”
“We want to go places our own way,” explains Juanjo Oroz. “We have a philosophy and a number of core values we observe. This team is not about victory, but about performance. In 2021 we will enter WorldTour races for the first time, and we want to show we deserve a wild card for La Vuelta. From 2023 on, we want to contend for a podium there. We will do that by keeping our team together, by trusting the talent of our young riders and growing along with them. We want to be the best option for their sporting careers to thrive.”