- Age 26
- Joined team in January, 2023
One of the new signings for 2023 is Mireia Benito Pellicer. The 26-year-old rider from Catalunya, Spain, is a promising talent who, because she entered the sport at a later age, has a lot of unlocked potential.
“I have always been into sports,” Benito said. “I grew up in Llorenç del Penedès in Catalunya and we were all into mountain sports in my family, mainly hiking and skiing. I started playing basketball when I was twelve but when I was 20, I got a knee injury. My recovery plan was based on cycling. I started to enjoy the ‘recovery moments’ on the bike more than the basketball itself, so I decided to give road racing a go. After that, everything went so fast.”
Benito joined Massi-Tactic in 2019 and has been part of the Spanish team ever since. She made waves in the Basque spring races this year by her aggressive style of racing and a fourth place in the Navarra Classics in a world class field.
Benito combined her degree in Biotechnology including two masters, one related to Molecular Biology and Biomedicine and another in teaching sciences, with her fledgling cycling career and has improved ever since.
“My start in cycling was a disaster, I hardly finished a single race in my first year. Fortunately, I had no pressure and just enjoyed training and competitions. After a year I started training more seriously and I managed to raise my level quite fast. I started winning races at the regional level and shortly after that I was on the podium of the national championships. Because I trained and raced a lot, in combination with my studies, it was difficult to recover sufficiently, and this also increased the stress.
After my second master's degree, I decided to become a professional cyclist because I enjoyed working for/with the team, racing and sharing experiences with my teammates, achieving goals together and being constantly challenged. Natascha's phone call was a very exciting moment, because I finally got the chance to really just focus on the bike and put all my effort and time into it. After the first team camp at AG Insurance - Soudal Quick-Step I immediately felt at home. It is a great team with many warm-hearted people involved. The team makes me feel like I'm in the right place to grow, learn and share experiences. They have shown their faith in me and I can't wait to give my best for the team.”
Benito has been racing in Spain predominantly in both the UCI races and the domestic calendar. With AG Insurance - Soudal Quick-Step she will get to ride the hillier classics in the Netherlands and Belgium.
“My favorite races are those that have some hills, like Flèche Wallonne, Tour of Flandres, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Amstel Gold Race… but I also love long stage races and time trials. For now, I consider myself an all-rounder but I think I can improve my climbing skills. As I started quite late in cycling, I feel that I can still increase my level in general. I love to be challenged and I always want to be better and listen and learn from everyone.”