Women’s Road Cycling News: What Awaits Us in 2023

By Megan Flottorp

The 2022 racing season is coming to a close. The UCI World Championships are over and Annemiek van Vleuten proved once again that she is an unstoppable legend who even an elbow fracture couldn’t hold back. In the under 23 category, Niamh Fisher-Black of New Zealand earned herself an inaugural victory and a place in the cycling history books. All things told, it has been a heck of a racing season, and we are a bit sad to see it in its twilight. From Paris-Roubaix to the Tour de France Femmes, 2022 was a turning point for getting women’s cycling more of the attention it deserves.

The official Women’s World Tour calendar will wrap up early next month with the Tour de Romandie Féminin, which runs between 7-9 October in Switzerland. With only one more race to go, it is time to start looking ahead to next year’s schedule. Let’s round up some of the notable news items that will impact the women’s road racing landscape in 2023!

Canyon//SRAM is banking on new talent

Currently home to 15 riders from 11 different countries, Canyon//SRAM looks to be planning for even brighter days down the road. They have signed 25-year-old Polish rider Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka who won the national title in the individual time trial in 2022. In addition, Dutch road and track rider Maike van der Duin will join the squad through to 2024. The Dutch rider won four medals at the U23 European Track Championships, including a gold in the scratch race and later won a silver medal in the same event at the UCI Track World Championships.

Liane Lippert goes to Movistar

Team Movistar is clearly committed to strengthening their squad by adding Liane Lippert, formerly Team DSM. The German rider has just pulled off one of her best seasons to date, coming in fourth at the UCI World Championship road race, second overall at the Tour of Scandinavia, taking the national title in June, and securing third at both Amstel Gold and Brabantse Pijl.

Lippert has joined Movistar on a 3-year contract, illustrating the team’s commitment to establishing themselves in the long-term and remaining a significant force in the UCI Women’s World Tour. Lippert joins a roster featuring the likes of Emma Norsgaard, Arlenis Sierra, Paula Patiño, and Spaniards Sheyla Gutiérrez and Sara Martín. Not to mention the world’s best rider, Annemiek van Vleuten, in her farewell season.

Annemiek van Vleuten
Van Vleuten will retire at the end of 2023. © Profimedia

Team SD Works grows stronger

Team SD Worx announced it had strengthened its ranks for the coming two seasons, with Dutch riders Mischa Bredewold and Femke Markus joining the team. The riders previously rode for Parkhotel Valkenburg, a notable development team which has given rise to some of the peloton’s fiercest riders, including Demi Vollering and Lorena Wiebes.

A new World Tour from Spain

The Women’s Continental team Laboral Kuxta-Fundacion Euskadi has expressed their ambitions to secure a Women’s World Tour licence by 2024. The Spanish squad has a €1.8 million budget and hopes to continue developing riders from the Basque Country while adding several higher-profile international riders. Laboral Kutxa, Orbea and Etxeondo have extended their partnership with the team through to 2029, and team management is hopeful that they will be able to move up to the World Tour.

In other notable news from Spain—from 2023 onwards, Spanish continental teams will need to pay their riders a minimum wage.

Trek-Segafredo is eyeing the classics

It looks like Trek-Segafredo is going forward with a mandate of experience and consistency. They have extended cooperation with the 35-year-old World, European and National Champion and Hour Record holder Ellen van Dijk for two more years. They’ve also signed with experienced German rider Lisa Klein until 2025. She has been a force in the pro peloton since 2015 and has accumulated 13 professional victories, including the German National Championship title on the road and in the time trial. Australian rider Amanda Spratt will also join Trek-Segafredo for the next two seasons, following 11 years with GreenEDGE.

It is not goodbye yet

After announcing her retirement early in 2022, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio has decided it isn’t quite her time yet and has now said she will join AG Insurance-NXTG for the 2023 season.

“I was very certain I would retire after this season,” Moolman-Pasio said. “It’s what I announced to the world but gradually, the idea to continue started to gain ground in my mind. I had one of my best seasons to date, and even at 36, I make progress every year. My level is higher than it’s ever been, so here we are.”

Among the most experienced riders in the peloton, Moolman-Pasio is a multiple South African champion, world e-sports champion, and one of the top climbers in the world.

What the riders are saying

Of course, things might look good from the outside but it is also important to listen to the experience of the riders themselves. The Independent union for the women’s peloton, the Cyclists’ Alliance, has been doing a lot of heavy lifting in this respect, and recently released the results of their annual Rider Survey. Overall, there seems to be progress for riders in the Women’s World Tour with improved working conditions and salaries. Meanwhile, many riders in continental teams still struggle with financial difficulties and lack of support. Economic matters remain the main reason why many athletes leave the sport earlier than planned. Details of the survey results can be found here.

Kicking things off with a bang in 2023

If, like us, you’re already anticipating the excitement that the new year’s racing schedule will bring, take comfort in the fact that things should be off to a roaring start. The first World Tour edition of the Women’s Tour Down Under might only have three stages but there’s going to be a little something for everyone, including the challenging Corkscrew Road. The first stage will be for the sprinters, the second will be suited to puncheurs, and the final one will be all about the climbers. The event is scheduled from 15 to 17 January 2023, preceded by a criterium on 14 January.

In the meantime, don’t miss the Tour de Romandie Féminin, which starts on October 7. And, as always, stay tuned for plenty of content from the wonderful world of women’s cycling!