All images: Justin Britton

Following on from the first post in this four-part series last week, which previewed the fortunes and prospects of the first half of the men's peloton, today's post considers eight of the fifteen Women's World Tour teams, looking back on how they fared in 2023, who's in and who's out, and how they are shaping up ahead of the new season.

2023 was a season defined by the monopoly of Team SD Worx; a season in which many teams, on paper, looked to have poorer seasons than in 2022, simply because of the dearth of opportunities for them to raise their arms in the air, as they all trailed in after [insert SD Worx rider name here]. Will 2024 be a case of déjà vu, or will the other teams find a way around the Dutch team's dominance? Let's begin, as is customary, with A...

AG Insurance-Soudal Team


Ash Moolman-Pasio leads the charge!

Team to step up to World Tour level in 2024!

In their final year as a UCI continental team, the Belgian side made good on the investment of the Soudal team and proved they had what it took to make the step up to Women’s World Team status. Several key signings helped to make the difference, with headline rider Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio notching up two victories and Justine Ghekiere one, and both performing well throughout the season. Riders who’d been with the team longer also upped their game, with Kiwi under-23 rider Ally Wollaston coming of age and Italian Gaia Masetti also having some good days out.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT – the team's promotion to the World Tour, giving women's cycling more visibility in Belgium and a future for the talented riders of the development squad, can only be a good thing for women's cycling.

INS AND OUTS – with the core group of riders all renewing their contracts for 2024, AG Insurance have waved goodbye to a few others including Finnish sprinter Lotte Hentala and Romy Kasper, but they’ve brought in quality not quantity to replace the outgoing riders. Sarah Gigante from Movistar has already proven her worth in the very first race of the season, and Julie van de Velde will bring strength and valuable experience.

PROSPECTS – it’s easy to get swept up by the early-season hype, and if we were to let ourselves get carried away, we might say that this team have the capabilities to challenge at some seriously big races, given their showing at the Tour Down Under. Winning two stages and the GC, it was true domination from the Belgian side, and I can’t wait to see how they fare back in Europe, and particularly in stage racing. If the likes of Sarah Gigante and Ally Wollaston can maintain their form, they could spring some surprises on some of the more well-established names.

A WISH – the team really do live up to their early season promise and challenge the stronger teams in stage races

A PREDICTION – a big classics win for Ally Wollaston

AND A LONG SHOT – Sarah Gigante solos to victory on Alpe d’Huez

Overall expectation in GIF form:

Canyon//SRAM Racing


Dygert comes back strong!

Bauernfeind climbs to victory at the Tour!

Kasia in rainbows!

Proving themselves to be a versatile unit with goals both on and off-road, Canyon//SRAM racked up 19 UCI wins in 2023, with almost half of those coming on gravel, including the ultimate prize – the rainbow striped jersey of World Champion – for Kasia Niewiadoma.

The team weren’t just an off-road force to be reckoned with though, claiming two Grand Tour stage wins through two young German talents – Antonia Niedermaier securing a stage at the Giro and Ricarda Bauernfeind soloing to an incredible breakaway victory at the Tour de France Femmes.

Magnus Backstedt was a valuable addition in the team car and tactically, the team took a real step up in 2023, where often they have floundered before. Chloe Dygert made a full return to the road and proved that she has what it takes to compete with the best.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT – let’s face it, if it had been available to view on TV it probably would have been Kasia Niewiadoma’s win at the gravel World Championships because a big win for her is so richly deserved and her joy looked infectious just from the pictures alone. Instead I’ll go for Ricarda Bauernfeind’s coming of age at the Tour de France, a truly standout performance that really marked her out as one to watch for the future.

Ricarda Bauernfeind celebrates an incredible victory

INS AND OUTS – very little action on the transfer market for Canyon who retain the core of their team as they build on their previous success and future promise. Two riders head out – Sarah Roy and Pauline Rooijakkers – and one in – Justyna Czapla makes the step up from the Development team.

PROSPECTS – it should be a good season for Canyon. A steady build in 2023 with several riders maturing should pay dividends in 2024. In Chloe Dygert they have a legitimate weapon to take on the might of SD Worx, and they have chances of stage wins at all the big races with the depth in their squad. Scrolling through the list of names reveals a team packed with potential winners, and I can't wait to see what they will do this season.

A WISH – Katia Niewiadoma wins Strade Bianche

A PREDICTION – Ricarda Bauernfeind podiums in a Grand Tour

AND A LONG SHOT – Zoe Backstedt wins Paris-Roubaix

Overall expectation in GIF form:

CERATIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling Team


Kerbaol impresses at Le Tour!

Sprint victories aplenty!

With 12 UCI victories, it was a team effort from German outfit Ceratizit-WNT in 2023, with wins coming from seven different riders, proving their depth and consistency along with great timing and strategy as one of the less stacked sides. They picked up a number of wins from fast finishes, with the Fidanza sisters, Marta Lach and Myleene de Zoete all putting in stand-out performances.

One of their break-out stars of 2023 was French ITT champion Cédrine Kerbaol. The 21-year-old won the white jersey at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift and showed her potential to be a future GC contender.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT – Arianna Fidanza leading her little sister Martina out to victory in the Ronde de Mouscron in grim Belgian conditions in April - now that's what I call sisterhood.

INS AND OUTS – just one in and one out for the team this off-season, with Hannah Nilsson departing, and Marta Jaskulska a new arrival from Liv Racing, with the rest of the team continuing on.

PROSPECTS – A small but close-knit unit, Ceratizit are unlikely to make major waves in the headline races this year, but they retain the core of their team which suggests they will continue to achieve in smaller races, and hopefully continue to make steady progress. With a clutch of promising young riders still developing, there's the potential that 2024 could even be a marginal improvement on 2023.

A WISH – Cédrine Kerbaol to take a step up and win a stage in a Grand Tour

A PREDICTION – The team to score a big sprint victory over the peloton superpowers

AND A LONG SHOT – Katie Archibald announces a late season road programme after the Olympics, and rides the road World Championships with Team GB

Overall expectation in GIF form:



Home win for Grace Brown Down Under!

Cecilie smashes in Scandinavia!

After a stunning season in 2022, 2023 was always going to be tricky one for the French side. With Marta Cavalli's long road to recovery, and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig arguably quieter than the previous year, it felt somehow as though FDJ's women fell short of the mark in 2023, despite notching up several victories, including six at World Tour level. Where 2022 featured Grand Tour stages and spring Classics wins, 2023 was a more understated affair, but the team weathered the storm of not being at full strength and kept the heart of their unit intact, ready to go again in 2024.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT – It was great to see both Grace Brown and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig shining on home turf, and the Tour Down Under was a glorious way to start the 2023 season.

INS AND OUTS – With a fair bit of movement to and from the team, FDJ-SUEZ will look a bit different this year. While they retain all of their big GC names, they let go of arguably their best sprinter, Clara Copponi, who heads for Lidl-Trek, along with Emilia Fahlin, and a few more.

Coming in, some smart signings see FDJ building for the future with the acquisition of Dutch off-roader Lauren Molengraaf and French youngster Léa Curinier, alongside shoring up their support, bringing in experienced heads such as Coralie Demay, Amber Kraak and Nina Buijsman.

PROSPECTS – The French side will hope to challenge on the biggest stages once again in 2024, and with a strong core who have been working together for a few seasons now, things should hopefully come together once again. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig has started the season on a high with her victory in the Tour Down Under, as the team once again shone in the early season, and the team will hope they can carry their form through to the biggest tests of the season. If Marta Cavalli can return to her best, and younger riders like Evita Muzic, Jade Wiel and Marie Le Net can rise to the challenge, it could be another winning season.

A WISH – a big win for Evita Muzic

A PREDICTION – Marta Cavalli completes her comeback by winning a stage and finishing on the podium at the Tour de France Femmes

AND A LONG SHOT – Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig wins the World Championships in Zurich

Overall expectation in GIF form:



Breakaway stage win for Kastelijn!

Pieterse 5th on road debut!

Truyen podiums Paris-Roubaix Femmes!

Seen by many as underdogs, the Belgian side which combines riders from different disciplines began their first year with a new team name and tonnes of ambition and heart. They achieved a stack of top tens in big races, including a podium at Paris-Roubaix Femmes courtesy of Marthe Truyen, one of the intrepid breakaway which survived the day, while off-road star Puck Pieterse enjoyed being a significant part of the action in her very first elite road race, Strade Bianche.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT – Yara Kastelijn’s solo victory at the Tour de France Femmes that stood head and shoulders above the rest for me. Her gritty, all-out attack with just under 20km remaining on the stage, after being in the breakaway all day, was everything dreams are made of, even more so given it was her first pro victory on the road. Her underdog triumph was made all the more sweet given that it followed stage 3’s heart-breaking final kilometre catch of her teammate Julie van de Velde by the sprint teams. Just sheer perfection.

INS AND OUTS – Just one in and two out for the team this year, with Kim de Baat retiring and Julie van de Velde heading to AG Insurance-Soudal, and Pauline Rooijakkers from Canyon//SRAM. Rooijakkers joining the team. Rooijakkers is a solid acquisition who can animate races and will hopefully regain her 2022 form, that saw her in the mix at some top races.

PROSPECTS – Fenix-Deceuninck will continue to play the role of plucky underdogs this season, but with a solid base to build upon, hopefully their confidence will increase and they will continue to be involved in big races.

A WISH – Puck Pieterse rides some more races on the road

A PREDICTION – Yara Kastelijn gets another big win

AND A LONG SHOT – Puck Pieterse wins Strade Bianche with a 30km solo

Overall expectation in GIF form:

Human Powered Health


Pikulik speeds to victory!

Mieke Kröger!

It was a better season for Human Powered Health as they picked up several victories, the majority of which came from the fast legs of Polish sprinter Daria Pikulik, who topped and tailed the season with WWT level victories in the Tour Down Under and the Tour of Guangxi, proving that she’s right at home performing outside of Europe.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT – Hearing from Eri Yonamine as part of the writebikerepeat Giro Donne coverage

INS AND OUTS – One of the major players on the transfer market this off-season, Human Powered Health have had a glow-up, adding no fewer than nine new names to the roster. They send six riders off to other teams, including Nina Buijsman, Marjolein van’t Geloof and Eri Yonamine, and as a result, their line-up looks quite different going into 2023. New additions include aggressive animator Katia Ragusa from Liv Racing-Teqfind, former Trek rider and gravel crossover star Ruth Edwards who will bring a wealth of experience, and the talented young rider Silvia Zanardi from Team BePink Gold, along with several more.

PROSPECTS – HPH will take a step up in 2024. With a new-look roster and greater strength in depth, they will be a stronger presence in the peloton and able to challenge on a wider variety of parcours.

A WISH – A win for Audrey Cordon-Ragot

A PREDICTION – The team will win a stage of the Tour de France Femmes

AND A LONG SHOT – Henrietta Christie wins on Alpe d’Huez in the Kiwi national champions jersey (I’ve gone big on this one)

Overall expectation in GIF form:



One-two in UAE as Realini shines!

Gaia vs Annemiek in Spain!

Team lead the way with maternity cover!

The biggest team in terms of status after SD Worx, Lidl-Trek were as much a victim of the Dutch super-team’s spectacular 2023 season as the rest. With their considerable resources, they were still able to accrue a raft of wins throughout the season, but the really big victories are noticeable by their absence – scroll down a list of their 2022 victories by contrast, and it’s an embarrassment of riches.

They met their match in SD Worx’ class of ’23 though, with the UAE Tour GC and a stage apiece at the Giro Donne and La Vuelta the highlight of their season, and suffered a complete washout at the Classics. With Ellen van Dijk on maternity leave and Lizzie Deignan returning from hers, and Elisa Longo Borghini struggling with illness and crashing in the Giro Donne, they found themselves short a number of major players at key points. Add to that Lorena Wiebes and Charlotte Kool making life difficult for Elisa Balsamo, and their complete list of honours is modest.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT – Gaia Realini proving herself on Jebel Hafeet, before taking it to Annemiek van Vleuten at La Vuelta Femenina

INS AND OUTS – Stability and investment in the future have been at the heart of Lidl-Trek’s transfer activity this off-season, which is almost more notable for the fact that it’s been very quiet than if they’d signed a load of new faces. Not a single rider has transferred out of the team, underscoring the positive environment the team have created, and aside from Italian track star and road sprinter Clara Copponi, the team’s only new signings have been junior riders.

And they’ve signed A LOT of those. Young talent from across disciplines has flocked to Lidl-Trek with the confidence that like Lucinda Brand and Shirin van Anrooij, they will be able to continue following their passions off-road alongside developing their road careers. Brit Isabel Sharp, Belgian Fleur Moors, Canadian twins Ava and Isabella Holmgren and junior ITT World Champ Felicity Wilson-Haffenden will form the core of the next generation of Lidl-Trek.

PROSPECTS – Lidl-Trek will be fired up and ready to take it to SD Worx in 2024, and they have the benefit of knowing that everyone else in the peloton is of the same mind. With their strength in depth they will be able to dictate races as they have long done, and they will be  

A WISH – Shirin van Anrooij wins Paris-Roubaix, reinstating the Lidl-Trek dominance at the race

A PREDICTION – Ellen van Dijk wins the rainbow jersey for the third time in the World Championship ITT

AND A LONG SHOT – Lidl-Trek win all three Grand Tours, shutting out SD Worx

Overall expectation in GIF form:

Liv Jayco Alula


Faulkner suffers training crash!

Zigart comes close!

It was a relatively anonymous season for the Aussie team following a strong showing in 2022. Like all the other WWT teams they suffered from the SD Worx monopoly, but they also lacked the key personnel firing on all cylinders. Their star of 2022, Kristen Faulkner, was forced to miss the Giro Donne and Tour de France Femmes after she was hit by a car in training, which was a huge blow to the team, who lost a standout leader.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT – it's hard to call it a highlight, when it ended in heartbreak, but who wasn't rooting for Urška Žigart as she went solo to try and claim her first ever Women's World Tour level victory, in the Tour de Suisse in June. It was such a gutsy ride, but the Slovenian's day ended in disappointment as she was subsumed by the bunch at the last moment, as the sprinters had their day instead.

INS AND OUTS – The merger between Jayco-Alula and Liv Racing has resulted in a mixed team with plenty of talent and experience. Incoming riders from Liv include, among others, veteran classics specialist Mavi Garcia, and two Dutch riders often involved in the heart of the action, Quinty Ton and Jeanne Korevaar. The team also bring on board talented young Kiwi Ella Wyllie who has a bright future ahead of her. Four riders depart the team including the all-around talents of Kristen Faulkner who heads to EF-Cannondale and experienced Basque rider Ane Santesteban, who opts for her local team Laboral.

Teniel Campbell is at the heart of Liv-Jayco-Alula

PROSPECTS – with the benefits of the merger bringing in new talent, comes the potential down side of blending as a team, but no doubt the management will have worked hard over the winter to bring the two disparate groups together. They retain the core from the Alula set-up, and there’s no shortage of talent, there, with newly crowned Australian champion Ruby Roseman-Gannon, her compatriot Alexandra Manly, powerhouse time trialist and rouleur Teniel Campbell and track sensation Letizia Paternoster among others. It’s a team that has all the ingredients for success; applying them in the right way and driving them towards the right goals will be the challenge.

A WISH – Urška Žigart takes her first WWT win, laying to rest the disappointment of the Tour de Suisse

A PREDICTION – Ella Wyllie takes a surprising breakthrough win

AND A LONG SHOT – An Aussie Olympic road race win courtesy of a bold late breakaway featuring the Liv Jayco Alula girls

Overall expectation in GIF form:

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