10 transfers to watch in the women’s road peloton for 2023
From big-ticket moves like Lorena Wiebes to promising young riders like Fem van Empel and Zoe Bäckstedt, here are some of the biggest moves for 2023.
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With the new year on the horizon, the cycling transfer season has all but dried up as teams finalize their rosters for 2023.
These last three months have seen some big-ticket moves, such as Lorena Wiebes’ deal with SD Worx or Mavi Garcia’s switch to Liv Racing Xstra.
Meanwhile, some promising young stars like Fem van Empel and Zoe Bäckstedt, who will ride for Jumbo-Visma and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB respectively from next season, will take a big step forward in their careers.
- Lorena Wiebes shows all-round ability to win Simac Ladies Tour overall
- UCI Road World Championships: Zoe Bäckstedt celebrates birthday with double rainbow
- Amanda Spratt signs with Trek-Segafredo through 2024
VeloNews takes a look at some of the biggest transfers for the 2023 season and what they promise.
From: Team DSM
To: SD Worx
Wiebes’ three-year deal with SD Worx was one of the first confirmed signings of this year’s transfer period with the team announcing it on August 3. Though there were rumors of the move a few days before, the deal came as something of a surprise given that Wiebes had a deal with Team DSM through 2024.
After a slightly middling season by SD Worx standards, securing the services of the Dutchwoman is a big coup. Wiebes has proven herself the fastest sprinter in the world at the moment and she will be front of the queue for a leadership role at any flat or rolling races. However, she’ll have much more competition than usual with the likes of Lotte Kopecky also on the team.
With the signing of Wiebes, SD Worx has had to curate a leadout train for her, using existing riders and new signing Barbara Guarischi. Having honed her train at DSM, it will be interesting to see how she gels with her new squad.
From: Tormas-Acrog CX
To: EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
Bäckstedt’s promotion to be a fully-fledged professional is one of the most hotly anticipated moves for the 2023 season. EF Education-TIBCO-SVB, a team well known for nurturing talent, moved quickly to snap her up after taking her on as a stagiaire in the final months of this season. With the team branching into cyclocross for the first time this winter, Bäckstedt will race for the team in CX as well as on the road.
Bäckstedt is possibly one of the most exciting young prospects in cycling at the moment with her four world titles this year. It’s no surprise that she was snapped up to go straight to WorldTour level. She will need some time to adjust to elite level, but she’s already shown some promising results in her few races as a stagiaire and it will be exciting to see her race in 2023.
Maike van der Duin
From: Le Col-Wahoo
Van der Duin was one of the most aggressive riders at this year’s Tour de France Femmes. She was regularly off the front, particularly in the early stages, which earned her a couple of days in the youth classification. At just 21, it was an assured ride from the Dutchwoman and it was a performance that put her on the radar of the top teams with Canyon-SRAM signing her for 2023.
Van der Duin is a talent on the track as well as the road and she took home two silver medals at the recent track world championships in the scratch race and the omnium, finishing nine points behind U.S. rider Jennifer Valente in the latter event.
Fem van Empel
From: Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal
Van Empel has lit up the cyclocross scene this winter with eight wins out of nine events so far this season. Lucinda Brand has been the only rider able to beat her so far this season. She was already becoming a top talent with the U23 worlds win in January and victory over Marianne Vos at the Vai Di Sole round of the World Cup last year.
Jumbo-Visma knew Van Empel had a big future ahead of her, but few could have expected her to dominate on the CX field quite so comprehensively this year. She only has a small amount of experience on the road during her short career, so it will be interesting to see how she transfers her raw talent over to that discipline.
From: UAE Team Emirates
To: Liv Racing Xstra
A latecomer to professional racing, Garcia has developed into one of the best GC riders in the women’s peloton. This season saw her enjoy one of the best seasons of her career with wins at the Vuelta a Burgos and the Classic Lorient Agglomération (formerly the GP de Plouay). She also raced to third at the Giro d’Italia Donne and followed that up with 10th at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, despite some major mishaps, including a crash that saw her own team car drive into her.
Getting Garcia on board is a big deal for Liv Racing Xstra, which hasn’t had a GC rider for a very long time and has been lacking a top team leader in recent seasons, particularly after a raft of departures ahead of this season.
From: Team DSM
After Wiebes, Lippert is another big name leaving the DSM team this winter. With Annemiek van Vleuten set to retire at the end of next year, Movistar was looking for a new GC rider to help fill her shoes. It will be next to impossible to find a rider that will be just as dominant as Van Vleuten, but Lippert will help fill some of that gap and she has plenty of promise for the future.
For much of this year, Lippert has raced in the shadow of teammate Juliette Labous, but she has shined when the opportunity arose. Her battle with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig at the Tour of Scandinavia was a particular highlight and she only just missed the podium at the Challenge by La Vuelta.
After racing her whole professional career with the Australian GreenEdge set-up, Spratt decided to venture out of the squad and signed a two-year deal with Trek-Segafredo. It is a good move for Spratt and will hopefully help her to get her career back on track after a couple of difficult seasons. Being around so many top talents will take some pressure off her, too.
Spratt was hoping to be back toward the front of the bunch after undergoing surgery for iliac artery endofibrosis at the end of last season. However, injury and illness would continue to cause her trouble as she was forced to leave the Giro d’Italia early, while on course for a good result, after contracting COVID, and she was caught up in a high-speed crash at the Tour de France that put an end to her race on stage 3. Moving to Trek-Segafredo will be a fresh start.
From: Valcar-Travel &Service
To: UAE Team Emirates
Persico is one of several riders from the Valcar-Travel & Service squad set to be stepping up to the WorldTour next season with UAE Team Emirates. The Italian squad has become well-known for developing riders with past alumni including Elisa Balsamo and Marta Cavalli. Persico has been growing every year with the team and this season saw her take another big step forward.
Perhaps the biggest progression for Persico was in her talent as a GC rider with a seventh-place finish at the Giro d’Italia Donne followed by a fifth place at the Tour de France Femmes, among some other big results. It is a lot to live up to for next year but she has the talent to do it.
From: Canyon-SRAM Generation
Bauernfeind is one of two riders that will step up from Canyon-SRAM’s new development squad to its WorldTour team for 2023. A promising young rider, she was among the first riders to secure a contract with the development team, and she took the opportunity with both hands and was the squad’s top performer by a large margin.
Among her successes this season were bronze medals in both U23 events at the world championships, the youth classification — plus third overall — at the Tour Féminin Pyrénées, and the win at the Gran Premio Cidade de Pontevedra. It will be interesting to see how she progresses with the additional pressure of the WorldTour.
From: Parkhotel Valkenburg
To: SD Worx
Bredewold is another promising talent on this list with some big performances on her palmarès in 2023. She finished second in the youth category at the Tour de France Femmes, finishing 21st overall, won the final stage of the Simac Ladies Tour, and a series of other solid results. Moving to SD Worx for 2023 will be a big step for the 22-year-old Dutch rider, but the team has proven itself as a good space for young riders to develop.