On Sunday, the Jayco-AlUla and Liv Racing-Teqfind teams will face off as rivals in the Tour de France Femmes, but next season they’ll be teammates. The two Women’s WorldTour teams announced today that they will merge for 2024, creating a new multi-level team structure capped by its WorldTour program.
To have a structured development pathway in place for any rider is not only an important part of a rider’s career, but is something that we feel is lacking for the women’s peloton in particular,” said Jayco-AlUla general manager Brent Copeland in a press release announcing the news. “Unlike the men’s peloton, there is currently no competitive under 23 category and the step up from junior to elite level is huge.”
The release left a number of questions unanswered, including the names of the new teams and, crucially, the exact structure of how two Women’s WorldTour teams would merge into one WT-level team and a Continental-level squad, and what the various roster makeups would be. Both Jayco and Liv Racing have 15 riders each on their rosters, one shy of the WWT maximum of 16; even with the usual contract churn, some number of riders currently racing at the WT level for either team will likely end up as Continental racers next year.
Jayco-AlUla’s press officer didn’t immediately respond to a text message requesting comment. The partnership is set to run “through to 2027,” and the team intends a close relationship between the two sides, with development riders at the Continental level able to access the knowledge and experience of their WorldTour partners.
In that respect, the relationship will be similar to Canyon-SRAM and Canyon-SRAM Generation, or UAE Team ADQ and the UAE Development team, both of which provide a professional development pathway (Ricarda Bauernfind, who finished fifth overall at La Vuelta Femenina, and Giro Donne stage winner Antonia Neidermaier, both came up through the Canyon development structure). What that also means is you won’t see the two outfits in the same race; UCI rules prevent a development team from racing in the same event as its associated WorldTour partner.
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