The Rise & Rise of Mavi García

A former figure skater, runner and duathlete, Mavi García only turned to cycling at the age of 31. Eight years later, she is enjoying the prime of her career as a rider. Now an internationally renowned climber, Mavi García is the undisputed number one rider in Spain, as she has claimed the last six national championships.

There are currently seven Spanish riders competing in UCI Women’s WorldTeams. Five of them are part of Movistar Team, the sole Spanish WWT squad, and devote most of their seasons to team duties. They are Alicia González, Sheyla Gutiérrez, Sara Martín, Lourdes Oyarbide y Gloria Rodríguez. Meanwhile, Basque rider Ane Santesteban is the leader of Australia’s Jayco-AlUla every time the road goes uphill. Over at Liv Racing-TeqFind, in the Spanish national champion jersey both in time trials and road races, there is Mavi García. She has already stayed for three seasons amongst the top 15 riders in the world despite only competing in her first bike race eight years ago.

During her childhood, Mavi García was a figure skating. It was her focus, so much so that she was part of the Spanish national team. She however grew tired of skating as she found it hard to balance sport, studies and life. It was too much and she decided to hang the skates in her wardrobe at age 16. This marked the beginning of eight long years without sport, until she signed up for tennis lessons. She already had a full-time job in the hospitality industry, yet she found some spare minutes to warm up before her classes by jogging around the courts. Someone told her she was very fast and that she should give running a try. She did so by signing up for a mile run. Mavi finished in third place. Standing on that podium changed her life.

After a few years running, Mavi’s brother encouraged her to take up duathlon. It was thanks to this sport that she got a taste of glory, as she claimed three medals in different World Championships. She also got to know the pleasure of riding a bike, enough as to wonder how she could make a living out of it. A friend of hers called the Spanish cycling federation to find out, and got the whereabouts of Bizkaia-Durango as a response. The Basque team invited Mavi to a training camp. On the very first climb of the very first training ride with her conjectural teammates, she was the very first to the summit. They immediately welcomed her on board.

It was the beginning of a story that nearly ended less than a year later. In her maiden race with the Spanish national team, Argentina’s Tour de San Luis in 2016, she crashed hard and harsh on her face. Her nose was broken, and several teeth too. It underlined how she was yet to learn all the skills that most riders develop in the youth ranks. Yet now it would be even more difficult, because her weakness had been supplemented with fear. “Back then I was death scared already at every start line, my heart beating as fast as if we were already racing,” she admitted years later. Mavi stood her ground, though, and learned to tame her heart, her mind and her bike. That very year she claimed her first Spanish National Championship with a long-range attack that has become her trademark.

It was now time to quit duathlon and fully focus on getting a contract to become a real professional rider. The creation of Movistar Team in 2018 granted her a spot to reward her efforts. After a couple of years, she changed outfits to join the Italian WWT squad Alé, which later became UAE Team ADQ. It was in this three-season spell that she defined herself as an endurance, climbing rider. An aggressive one – sometimes out of strength, sometimes out of sheer lack of belief in her own potential. She claimed victories, like a stage of the Vuelta a Burgos and the Classic Lorient Agglomération, and suffered defeats, like this Amstel Gold Race in which she attacked too early and later finished 6th.

If there is a landmark race for Mavi García’s career, it is the 2022 Giro Donne. She was in the best form of her life and went head-to-head with Annemiek van Vleuten – the woman some define as the GOAT in women’s cycling. Together, they turned the race upside down on a hilly stage to Cesena. Van Vleuten finished as the overall winner and Mavi ended up very happy with her third position – the kind of result that sets a rider’s status in the peloton.

Last winter, Mavi García signed for Liv Racing-TeqFind, a long-standing Dutch team that wanted her to be its leader in both one-day and stage races. At age 39, the rider from Mallorca is in her prime. She has already collected eight national titles, including the last six in a row – both in time trial and road races in the years 2020, 2021 and 2022. Mavi is a woman to watch in every race she takes part in. Keep an eye out for the Spanish star this week in the Ardennes classics and also from May 1st at La Vuelta Femenina by

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