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Team DSM adds trio of young talent to women’s squad for 2023

Promising young riders Eleonora Ciabocco, Maeve Plouffe, and Eglantine Rayer sign with the team through 2024.

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Team DSM has added a wealth of young talent to its roster with the signing of Eleonora Ciabocco, Maeve Plouffe, and Eglantine Rayer through 2024.

At 23, Australian rider Plouffe is the oldest of the trio and she has had an impressive career so far with multiple national championships on the track as well as some promising results on the road.

Meanwhile, both Ciabocco and Rayer are both 18 and will join the team right out of the junior ranks. The duo recently finished first and second in the European junior road race with Rayer edging out Ciabocco in a sprint.

The trio of new signings comes as some of the team’s more experienced riders are set to depart the team at the end of the season. Both Floortje Mackaij and Leah Kirchmann will not be riding with the team in 2023.

Rayer is one of the most promising juniors at the moment and she has amassed a strong palmarès over the past two seasons with back-to-back victories in the French junior road race and a win in the 2021 national time trial. This year, she won a stage and the overall title at the Tour du Gévaudan Occitaine, as well as the European road race title, and she finished second to Evita Muzic at the Alpes Gresivaudan Classic.

“We’ve been in contact with Eglantine for a while and she has really impressed us with her attitude on and off the bike; she has a big and friendly personality,” head coach Rudi Kemna said. “She has been a double French champion on the road and time trial, and this year took the European road race too.

“Her characteristics suit the longer ascents, but in the junior ranks she has been explosive and shown good ability against the clock too – so we will look to keep her development as broad as possible in the immediate future; allowing her to grow and find her feet as she makes the step up.”

Plouffe has developed her talent in the Australian hugely successful track program, taking national titles in the madison, team pursuit and omnium. She is a former junior national champion in the time trial on the road and this season she has stepped up her road efforts.

In January, she was one of the few riders to beat the imperious Ruby Roseman-Gannon at the Santos Festival of Cycling. She spent some time racing in Europe through June with some solid results, including a win at the national level Wilsele one-day race, and she’s hoping to hone her sprint capabilities with DSM.

“After seeing some success over the last few years on the track, I’m eager to apply myself to the new challenge of racing on the road,” she said. “I’ve always admired their women’s program as the most dialled sprint lead-out train in the women’s WorldTour.

“As a budding leadout rider and sprinter, the opportunity to be a part of this lead out therefore feels like a natural fit for my background and is definitely a career-defining opportunity. I’m feeling incredibly motivated, and I can’t wait to put in the work over the Australian summer so that I’m ready to race in my new colors in 2023.”

Ciabocco had a very short opening season in the junior ranks in 2021 but she left her mark on it, taking the Italian national title as well as finishing in the top 5 of the Trofeo Alfredo Binda Juniors and finishing ninth in the junior road race at the Flanders worlds.

She’s backed that up this season with another national road race title and podium finishes in the European road race and a string of other events.

“In the junior ranks Eleonora has shown herself to be quite a complete rider; she can climb well but also packs a good punch too,” Kemna said. “She’s taken back-to-back Italian road race titles which is really impressive, as that is normally one of the toughest races at that level. Furthermore, Eleonora has a really good mindset for a cyclist; always wanting to improve, but she’s also able to read a race well and play the game of cycling well, which is impressive for someone so young. We’re looking forward to working with her.”

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