While there are still some transfers trickling in and some teams are still in the process of cementing their rosters for 2024, there have already been some major moves ahead of the Olympic season, and as Dane Cash said last week now seems like a good a time as any to talk about them.
While most of the big names are staying put, a few riders have found new homes in unlikely places, and while I couldn’t highlight even half of the transfers I am excited for next year, here are some you should definitely know about …
Ruth Edwards to Human Powered Health (one year)
Two years after her shift from professional cycling to gravel, Ruth Edwards (formerly Winder) returns to the professional peloton with Human Powered Health. A team that has long struggled to live up to the expectations of a WorldTour outfit, HPH will massively benefit from the addition of Edwards.
HPH’s 2023 season was infinitely better than 2022, and a few good results (especially two WT wins by Daria Pikulik to bookend the season) managed to keep them within the relegation zone, but they still need some additional firepower. Edwards will bring that in spades. She is also an experienced captain on the road, with phenomenal race tactics, and will be able to help steer the ship to better results in 2024.
Edwards is not the only addition to HPH; they’ve also brought in a new director, Georgia Bronzini, whom Edwards worked with at Trek-Segafredo. A handful of other riders have joined the squad including Maëlle Grossetête (coming off six years with FDJ-Suez), Romy Kasper, Katia Ragusa, and more. All that suggests 2024 will see the team do even better, and Edwards is central to those plans.
Pauliena Rooijakkers to Fenix-Deceuninck (two years)
After two years with Canyon-SRAM, Pauliena Rooijakkers will move to Fenix-Deceuninck for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. The Dutch climber had a particularly promising 2022 season. She won the one-day Durango-Durango after placing second overall at Itzulia Women, was third overall at Tour de Suisse and won the climbing classification there, plus a handful of top-10s throughout the WT season.
She may fly uphill, but Rooijakkers is well known for struggling on descents and it’s cost her results in the past. While Canyon-SRAM is good at developing younger riders, when it comes to someone of Rooijakkers’ age (30) they don’t have as good a track record. Fenix-Deceuninck, on the other hand, is a team that will hopefully be able to instill some confidence in the Dutchwoman. Their young team will also benefit from her years of experience in the scene.
Rooijakkers is the only new hire for the team that rocked this year’s Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, and the fact that they only needed to pick up one person speaks volumes of their internal workings. No one really left, because the team is managing really well as is. The big question: will they be able to hold onto that feeling and make more magic in 2024?
Amber Kraak to FDJ-Suez (two years)
One of the many riders to detach from Jumbo-Visma is their loss and FDJ-Suez’s massive gain. Amber Kraak is fresh to the peloton; she first joined Jumbo-Visma midway through the 2021 season on what was originally a trial gig. Kraak came to cycling from rowing and was an Olympic reserve for the Netherlands in that sport until 2019, when she made her way to the bike.
In her first half-season with Jumbo-Visma, she showed talent, and the Dutch team extended her contract through 2022 and then again at the end of last season for two more years (2023 and 2024). She is not the first rider to cut her deal with the team short, and her departure from the team will definitely be felt.
As for her role on FDJ-Suez, the French team is a fantastic learning environment. They are understanding in a way a Dutch team is not and will be able to take what Kraak has already learned in her two and a half years in the peloton and expand upon it. Kraak will be valuable in team time trials (she helped Jumbo-Visma win the opening TTT at the Giro this year) where they have previously lost time, but she will also be a massive asset to their GC ambitions with Marta Cavalli and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.
Femke Gerritse to SD Worx (three years)
The next potential Dutch superstar to join SD Worx, Femke Gerritse spent the last three years with Parkhotel Valkenburg, the team well-known for churning out talent (Lorena Wiebes, Demi Vollering). The 22-year-old has a laundry list of impressive results as a junior and truly made her start in the professional ranks in 2021 when she won a stage of the Watersley Women’s Challenge in the Netherlands and finished fifth in the Dutch national road race. By the following season, she was turning heads. She won the youth classification at the Thüringen Ladies Tour and wore the climber’s jersey at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.
This season Gerritse notched a series of decent results, enough to flag SD Worx to her potential. She is the only new signing for the Dutch powerhouse team, with only two rider contracts expiring (Elena Cecchini and Sina Frei, the latter of whom is probably focused on other things like the Olympic MTB event in 2024).
Gerritse bolsters SD Worx’s Dutch base but don’t expect too much from her in 2024. Her three-year contract will allow her to keep learning and growing. By 2025 and 2026 expect the team to be very happy about their decision to bring her on.
Simone Boilard to Uno-X (two years)
Among the handful of new signings to join Uno-X in 2024 is the young Canadian Simone Boilard. Boilard has been racing for quite some time, and spent the last two seasons with St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93. Her step up to the Women’s WorldTour on a two-year deal with the team is a huge turning point in her career but also for the Norwegian team, which has kept its roster limited to the European corner of the world until now.
Boilard’s biggest results in Europe were all acquired this season or last, the best being her win at GP Oetigen in Belgium ahead of Evy Kuijpers and Maaike Boogaard. She also finished fourth overall at the Tour Feminin l’Ardeche in 2022.
By making the step to WT Boilard will get ample opportunities to grow as a rider and Uno-X, a team rife with young talent, is the perfect fit for a rider like her. She has experienced riders to watch as she navigates this step in her career, but she will also not be at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to hierarchy on the team.
Zoe Bäckstedt to Canyon-SRAM (three+ years)
Zoe Bäckstedt moved from EF Education-Tibco-SVB to Canyon-SRAM before the end of the 2023 season, to allow for the upcoming cyclocross season. Bäckstedt joined her dad Magnus (Canyon-SRAM’s DS) at the Simac Ladies Tour in September and was already the best rider on the team at that race, finishing third in the stage 2 time trial, fifth overall and taking the Youth Classification.
As if the Simac Ladies Tour wasn’t a good enough indication that they’d made a good decision, Bäckstedt went on to win the U23 European ITT title and has kicked off her cyclocross campaign with two wins, and two more podium finishes.
Canyon-SRAM has had a few bad years but turned things around drastically this year with stage wins at the Giro Donne and Tour de France Femmes by their new signings Antonia Niedermaier and Ricarda Bauernfeind. Plus, Chloe Dygert finally joined the team on the road and started off with a bang by finishing on the podium of multiple stages of La Vuelta Femenina and Vuelta a Burgos and then finally breaking the team’s four-year WorldTour win drought by winning a stage of RideLondon (and then, of course, the ITT World title).
Bäckstedt is just another phenomenal addition to a team that has finally hit its stride and will bring a ton of promise into the early season Classics.
Honourable mention: EF Education-Cannondale’s new roster
They’re not a WorldTour team, as 2024 will be its first year on the scene, but EF Education-Cannondale definitely has a WorldTour roster. Let’s start with the experienced riders: Lotta Henttala joins the team after returning from retirement to spend one year at AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step. The Finnish rider had a couple of good rides this year but will be even better next year with the Olympics on the horizon. Coryn Labecki joins the team after two years with Jumbo-Visma. The American is “coming home” in a way, returning to an American team, and all signs point to it being her best season in a while. Nina Kessler will come over from Jayco-AlUla and bring a lot of years on the road to a team with some fresh talent.
Then there’s Veronica Ewers, who burst onto the scene last year and backed it up with an impressive performance at this year’s Giro Donne. She will be helped on the climbs by Kim Cadzow, another brand-new find for road cycling. Noemi Rüegg, Switzerland’s latest talent, is another former Jumbo-Visma rider to jump across. Megan Armitage signed a three-year deal after spending one year at Arkea.
Paris-Roubaix Femmes winner Alison Jackson will cement the team’s whole vibe, with a couple of other former EF Education-TIBCO-SVB riders in her wake (Magdeleine Vallieres Mill, Letizia Borghesi).
The whole team is chock-full of talent and unknown. They will have some growing pains to be sure, but looking at the roster it’s an exciting mix of women who will bring a load of enthusiasm to a team that thrives on good vibes only.
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