The 2023 season sees plenty of Women’s Development Teams for the first time, Canyon SRAM got the ball rolling in 2022 with their Generation team but with new rules allowing for greater use there are plenty more this year. That helps a little bit to offset the lack of an U23 level in women’s cycling. It’s a shift away from juniors having to perform quickly or be moved on that we used to see. As a result, maybe some of the future talents we see come from development teams instead of the lower ranks of Women’s WorldTour teams. There’s no reason why we won’t continue to see talents rise from the Continental ranks either. Simone Boilard of St Michel Auber93 was a big standout at that level in 2022.
Top 5 Women Riders to Breakout in 2023
These 5 riders are names that should already stand out to fans of women’s cycling. They all had good results in 2022 and made us take note but haven’t necessarily taken a big win yet.
Julie de Wilde
Julie de Wilde feels like the easiest call on this list. Already a race winner with 2 wins in 2022, it’s more a case of De Wilde taking wins and strong results at bigger races. She came close with 2nd at Dwars door Vlaanderen and that along with a maiden Women’s WorldTour win would be a good aim for the 2023 season. With Fenix-Deceuninck now in the WWT and needing to score points to stay at that level, De Wilde will be one of the key riders this year to achieve consistent, high results.
I included Zanardi in the list last year and was surprised that she was still a BePink rider. Here we are in 2023 and Zanardi remains on the Italian team. She took 3 victories amongst a series of top-10 stage results and also top-5 GC finishes too. The latter was a development compared to the 2022 season. Amongst the road results, Zanardi also did a strong track programme with good results on the boards too. It feels like only a matter of time until Zanardi gets snapped up by a bigger team and another strong season will encourage that to happen.
Like De Wilde, this feels like an easier shout. Especially as Ally Wollaston has already won the Schwalbe Classic in 2023. But for a broken wrist suffered at the Tour de France Femmes, Wollaston might even have done enough to be too strong for this list. The Kiwi won GP de Plumelec-Morbihan having bettered the FDJ pair of Vittoria Guazzini and Grace Brown in a group of three. There should be similar goals to De Wilde, more wins and stronger results at a higher level. I fully she’s going to have a great 2023 season.
Niedermaier looked great at time trials coming out of juniors but it was the Tour de l’Ardeche where she suddenly came to wider attention. She won the GC battle there by over a minute, even without a time trial involved. She won two hilly stages and showed that there were more strings to her bow. She’s moved up from Canyon SRAM Generation to the main Canyon SRAM team so she might find herself working for riders like Kasia Niewiadoma this year but hopefully she gets more opportunities like last season because she could turn out to be one of the next GC stars in a few years.
Finally in this section, is the Pole Dominiika Wlodarczyk. She was the third of the trio at ATOM Deweloper last season which included Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka and Daria Pikulik. Those two have moved on and almost surprisingly, Wlodarczyk is still on the Polish team. That may prove to be a masterstroke as it means she should get the bulk of the opportunities on the team now. Last season she took a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in GC for 2.2 races and she might be able to push on and do the same at tougher races. The issue for her will be the invites that ATOM Deweloper are dependent on. It also means the number of WWT races she will enter is limited.
7 Women’s Riders to Watch in 2023
We started to see some good results for the Belgian last year, particularly in one-day races. The photo above is when she finished 3rd at GP Beerens and she’d already gone one better at GP Mazda Schelkens with 2nd place. There were other top-10 results too which is encouraging to see. The 1.1/1.2 level of one-day races is a tough breeding ground and if at 19-years-old Vanhove is already getting results, it’s only a matter of time before we see her win one or do well against a stronger field. She’s someone I could see suiting Dwars Door Vlaanderen for a breakthrough result at a higher level.
I normally try and spread things around a bit more and not pick 2 riders from the same team but Souren is really on a par with Vanhove despite racing for WV Schijndel last season rather than the parent team Parkhotel Valkenburg. She showed she was too good for the national level, taking 6 victories and was making her name for herself as a rider on a club team mixing it with some good names. Her 5th at Omloop van Borsele particularly due attention. She’s a one-day sprinter rather than a pure sprinter and her first season on a stronger team should allow her chances to shine.
Mari Hole Mohr
The Norwegian Mari Hole Mohr has been around for quite a while now, despite only being 21 years old. It felt like maybe the Covid pandemic seasons affected her development a bit but she began to consistently notch up solid results in 2022 for the first time. Hole Mohr took her first UCI win at the Tour of Uppsala and was only 4 seconds away from winning the GC of the sprint heavy race. With team leader Gaskjenn moving on this off-season there should be more opportunities for this Norwegian rider in 2023 and those Belgian one-day races should suit her well.
Those following cyclocross will know that Amandine Fouquenet is a name that feels on the cusp of moving up a level there. Already a French U23 national champion on the road, it feels like she’s not far away from getting more attention in her young career. 6th at La Classique Morbihan was her best one-day race result last year and she should be aiming to earn those sorts of results more regularly in the 2023 season. The Coupe de France races will be a good stepping stone and maybe she takes a strong result in a major race with the extra confidence of a good local result too.
Olivia Onesti has moved from Cofidis to St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 this off-season. The French rider competes on the road, in cyclocross and on the MTB as well. That’s the sort of triple threat that has made the likes of Puck Pieterse so popular. When it comes to the road, I’m looking at her result at the Alpes Gresivaudan Classic last season. She finished 7th, 80 seconds behind winner Evita Muzic, on a tough climbing course. Only a couple of places below her the time gaps ballooned out to over 10 minutes. For a then 18-year-old, that’s an impressive result.
There aren’t masses of results that back up why I think Daniela Campos will break out this year but she became a double Portuguese national champion and won the catchily named Trofeu de Ciclisme Femeni Clàssica de l’arròs at the non-UCI level. In the latter, she beat a certain Antonia Niedermaier in a sprint a deux. At the Mediterranean Games she finished 2nd behind Barbara Guarischi and ahead of her former Bizkaia Durango teammate Sandra Alonso. I think at this point in her career she might need a specific race situation to do well but there is definitely more to come.
The Finn’s 2022 season was bookended with 2 good results – 6th at Vuelta CV Feminas and 3rd at Binche-Chimay-Binche. In the middle Ahtosalo also became a double national champion for good measure. She won Alfredo Binda Juniors and it looked like we have a new Lotta Henttala in the peloton. A series of DNFs in major one-day Spring classics seemed to knock the confidence but with a better calendar in 2023, we should get to see more of the Finnish rider and it’ll be fun to see her go up against the returning Lotta Henttala too.
Other Riders to Watch in 2023 and Beyond
- Linda Riedmann
- Fem van Empel
- Ella Wyllie
- Kim Cadzow
- Lieke Nooijen
- Josie Nelson
- Femke Gerritse
- Cristina Tonetti
- Marie-Morgane Le Deunff
- Dilyxine Miermont