Murcian team Soltec signs Anna Kiesenhofer for the remainder of ‘La Vuelta’

Olympic road race gold medalist hasn’t raced professionally since 2017 when she suited up for Lotto Soudal

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Cycling - Road - Women's Road Race - Final - Tokyo to Fuji International Speedway - Tokyo, Japan - July 25, 2021.  Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria celebrates winning gold. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Cycling - Road - Women's Road Race - Final - Tokyo to Fuji International Speedway - Tokyo, Japan - July 25, 2021. Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria celebrates winning gold. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Anna Kiesenhofer, who became an Olympic road race gold medalist in Tokyo last summer, has agreed to join the Spanish team Soltec and make her debut in the upcoming Ceratizit Challenge.

The 31-year-old Austrian, who last raced for Lotto Soudal in 2017, will join the Murcian team Soltec in the lead up to the penultimate Women’s WorldTour event of 2022.

“Kiesenhofer’s arrival marks a turning point for the Soltec Team,” said team manager Marcelino Oliver to Cycling News. “It has been, so far, three years of hard work to create a solid, ambitious project that would allow us to aspire to great goals, and its arrival gives us the definitive impulse.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Cycling - Road - Women's Road race - Medal Ceremony - FSW - Fuji International Speedway - Shizuoka, Japan - July 25, 2021. Gold medallist Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria celebrates on the podium with silver medallist, Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands and bronze medallist, Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Cycling - Road - Women's Road race - Medal Ceremony - FSW - Fuji International Speedway - Shizuoka, Japan - July 25, 2021. Gold medallist Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria celebrates on the podium with silver medallist, Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands and bronze medallist, Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

After winning the Olympic gold medal last summer, Kiesenhofer went on to compete at the World and European Championships last season. In June, she placed second in both the time trial and road race at Austria’s National Championships.

Kiesenhofer’s gold medal win at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, was the first Summer Olympics gold medal for Austria since 2004 and their first cycling Olympic gold medal since 1896.

“Kiesenhofer is the ideal person to lead this [Ceratizit] Challenge by La Vuelta, someone who perfectly represents many of the sporting and human values that this team has always wanted to instill in its members. I admire her work ethic, her perseverance, her honesty, and her professionalism, her sacrifice. Her cycling mentality fits ideally with us.

The arrival of Anna has lifted the profile of the Soltec team, which had mostly been focused on Spain during the early part of the season. The new look roster will make their debut at the upcoming Ceratizit Challenge.

Jul 25, 2021. 
Sunday photo of Olympic cycling road race gold medalist Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria in the race.
REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Jul 25, 2021. Sunday photo of Olympic cycling road race gold medalist Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria in the race. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

“The competitive approach of our team changes completely with the arrival of Kiesenhofer. For the team it is a great challenge, a great motivation and allows us to aim high and aspire to win, or be ahead, in the most important race of the Spanish calendar.”

In 2021, Sports Media Austria named Anna Kiesenhofer as their Sportswoman of the Year. She was also named Lower Austria’s Sportswoman of the Year and also was awarded the Austrian of the Year award by Die Presse.