The 10 biggest Women’s WorldTour signings for 2021December 2, 2020
The transfer season is almost officially over and the biggest signings have already been announced, with a major shake-up to the top-tier of riders and teams set to compete on the Women’s WorldTour in 2021.
There was little movement between the eight WorldTeams at the start of this season, but just one year into the newly implemented two-tier team system, every major team has been boosted by a big signing for next year.
There are nine teams that have registered to the highest status: Alé-BTC-Ljubljana, Canyon-SRAM, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope, Mitchelton-Scott, CCC-Liv, Movistar Team Women, Team Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo, and new registrant SD Worx – previously Boels Dolmans. New team Jumbo-Visma and Ceratizit-WNT are expected to be issued a second-tier Continental licence.
Marianne Vos will embark on a fresh start with the new Jumbo-Visma women’s team after remaining loyal to the same organisation since she turned professional professional with in 2006, which had operated under a number of different headline sponsors: Nederland Bloeit, Rabobank Women Team, WM3 Energie, WaowDeals Pro Cycling and CCC-Liv.
New squad Jumbo-Visma were not granted a WorldTeam licence because they did not meet the criteria of being a Continental team for one year. However, manager Esra Tromp ensured they can offer Vos the whole shebang of a top-notch organisation, training plans, equipment, nutrition and world-class facilities, so that she can continue to improve on an outstanding career that includes 12 world championship titles across three disciplines – road, cyclo-cross and track – and three gold medals in road and track racing at the Olympic Games.
Annemiek van Vleuten has spent five years with Mitchelton-Scott, where she has developed into one of the best cyclists in the world as a climber, time triallist and all-rounder, and has been best known for her winning solo attacks. In a somewhat surprise move, the Dutchwoman ended her tenure with the Australian outfit for a new opportunity at Spanish-registered Movistar Team Women in 2021.
Van Vleuten is a former road race world champion, twice a time trial world champion, a two-time winner of the Giro Rosa, and has also won the Tour of Flanders, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Strade Bianche and La Course.
In what has been a tough COVID-19 season for many athletes, teams and events, Van Vleuten was forced to take a substantial salary cut to help keep Mitchelton-Scott afloat this year. The team also faced instability during the failed sponsorship takeover from Manuela Fundación.
The transfer is a boon for Movistar, however, as a team that can provide Van Vleuten with world-class management, equipment, and a sole leadership role through 2022.
One of the biggest signings of the transfer season was Teniel Campbell’s move up to the WorldTour with Mitchelton-Scott for 2021.
Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, she started her career in road and track cycling at the World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Switzerland in 2018 but graduated to the pro ranks with Continental outfits Cogeas-Mettler Pro Cycling and Valcar Travel & Service.
Campbell finished third at the Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana Feminas and fifth at the Omloop van het Hageland before the season was shut down due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic this year.
Campbell’s data files reveal 1,200+ watts in a max sprint, and she’s also a powerful time triallist and a love of the Classics. More importantly, however, is her endless determination and ambition to become the best, and her mission to develop cycling in the Caribbean, which make Campbell an asset for any team, and a rising star in women’s professional cycling.
One of Great Britain’s fastest rising talents, Lizzy Banks, was left without a team when Equipe Paule Ka announced that it would fold immediately in October after the sponsor failed to respect its contract and provide funding.
In a heartfelt statement, Banks accused French fashion house Paule Ka of throwing the team a lifeline when they were in need of a new financial backer in June, only to rip it away by not paying out the agreed upon financial contract through the end of 2020. In fact, Banks had already signed a contract renewal to compete with the team next year before being suddenly left to look for a new team.
She’s found a new home with Ceratizit-WNT and said that there was a clear alignment between her and the German-based Continental team. She had a strong season with a stage win at the Giro Rosa and a podium finish at the GP Plouay Trophée, and with the backing of a strong team, we can certainly expect more from her on the Women’s WorldTour in 2021.
One of the earliest transfers confirmed was Chloe Hosking’s move from Rally Cycling to Trek-Segafredo. The Australian will add a significant amount of experience to the American WorldTeam, while also strengthening their sprint line-up for 2021.
Trek-Segafredo have also brought onboard 2016 road race world champion Amalie Dideriksen and neo-pro Shirin van Anrooij, 18, from the Netherlands.
It’s one of the biggest moves for Hosking, too, as she spent one season with Continental team Rally Cycling after three seasons at Alé Cipollini. In her early years racing for Columbia and HTC-HighRoad, Hosking raced alongside Ina Teutenberg, and will now be under her guidance as a one of the team’s sports directors.
Hosking is considered one of the fastest sprinters in the women’s peloton and has twice won the Tour of Chongming Island, the Drentse Acht van Westerveld and has won four stages of the Women’s Tour Down Under.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s move to SD Worx will add climbing power to one of the strongest teams in the world. Under new title sponsorships after a five-year commitment from Boels Rental and Dolmans Landscaping ended, SD Worx has registered to become a top-tier WorldTeam in 2021.
The South African spent the last two years at CCC-Liv with Marianne Vos, but both riders have decided to make the move to new teams next year. Moolman-Pasio was sixth at the Giro Rosa this year, but has placed inside the top 10 overall in six editions.
She will certainly add to the team’s strength in stage races and one-day events, giving them another card to play in the mountains, as well as the punchy spring Classics. The team has also signed Demi Vollering, who will add to their sprint line-up.
Canyon-SRAM’s signing of American Chloé Dygert was one of the biggest and most controversial of the transfer season.
The team announced that Dygert had signed a four-year contract through the 2024 Olympic Games. The signing had taken place in September before Dygert’s horrific crash during the elite women’s time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Imola. She is currently recovering from partially severed quadriceps in her left leg, and when she will return to racing is uncertain.
Canyon-SRAM’s decision to sign Dygert is not off to a good start, less because of her injury and more because of her social media misconduct over the summer months that clothing sponsor Rapha deemed to be an endorsement of racist and transphobic views. The company claimed to ‘wholeheartedly condemn’ her actions, saying that they were “offensive, divisive and have no place in cycling or society” and called her public apology “insufficient”.
Dygert apologised for her social media misconduct, voicing her commitment to diversity and equality in a statement that appeared to be prompted by her new team, Canyon-SRAM.
Rapha confirmed that it will continue to support Canyon-SRAM and that Dygert will be engaging with an external Diversity & Inclusion consultant in order to develop a comprehensive programme of diversity and inclusion training that focuses on dialogue and education.
Megan Jastrab, 18, has officially graduated from junior gears, and will be embarking on her dream of racing at the top level of women’s cycling with Sunweb in 2021.
The reigning junior road race world champion has not been able to race this season because of the coronavirus pandemic, but in 2019 she proved herself in the European junior races, winning the Trofeo Binda and Healthy Ageing Tour and taking second in the Gent-Wevelgem junior race. She also won the Omnium at the 2019 Junior Track World Championships.
She’s signed a two-year contract with Sunweb, and is looking forward to eventually racing in the spring Classics, while remaining focused on qualifying for the Madison and Team Pursuit at the Tokyo Olympic Games next summer.
Transferring from long-time team Lotto Soudal Ladies to Liv Racing (formerly CCC-Liv) was a big move for Lotte Kopecky. The Belgian national time trial and road race champion is ready to move up to the WorldTeam ranks, however, after a stellar season that saw her net a stage victory at the Giro Rosa and podium finishes at Le Samyn des Dames, Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Brugge-De Panne.
The signing is a boon for Liv Racing, who have lost CCC as a title sponsor after financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic, and team leaders Marianne Vos to Jumbo-Visma and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio to SD Worx.
The team also signed Alison Jackson from Sunweb. Kopecky, also a track specialist, will bring a new sprint feel to the team and will be a strong contender for the spring Classics in 2021.
Marlen Reusser is one of the standout riders of the 2019 and 2020 seasons. She was one of the riders left without a contract after Equipe Paule Ka folded in October, but she has found a new home at Ale BTC Ljubljana.
Reusser started her career with the World Cycling Center (WCC) programme in 2019, with whom she won time trials at the Ljubljana-Domžale-Ljubljana, the European Games and the Swiss National Championships. She also won the Swiss road race title and placed sixth in the time trial at the World Championships in Yorkshire.
In her 2020 season with Equipe Paule Ka and her national team, Reusser successfully defended her time trial title at the Swiss National Championships, and took the bronze medal in the time trial and silver in the mixed relay at the European Championships. She also secured the silver medal in the time trial and 10th in the road race at the World Championships in Imola. On the road-racing calendar, Reusser was fifth overall at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana and seventh at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Reusser is hoping to continue to medal in major events such as the European Championships, World Championships and Olympic Games, while also improving her road racing by learning from team leader Marta Bastianelli at Ale BTC Ljubljana next year.