Lidl-Trek’s winter training camp has kicked off, setting in motion preparations for the 2024 season. The team will debut at the Tour Down Under, followed by races including Etoile de Bessèges and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. Key riders like Mads Pedersen and new signee Jonathan Milan are ready to start their seasons, while Tao Geoghegan Hart’s debut is slated for the Volta ao Algarve. The women’s team, featuring Elisa Longo Borghini and Gaia Realini, aims to replicate their 2023 success at the UAE Tour.
The return of Ellen van Dijk
Ellen van Dijk, the 36-year-old cycling star and new mother, is gearing up for a significant comeback in the peloton in spring 2024. While her first race since giving birth is yet to be confirmed, van Dijk is preparing to compete in the upcoming season’s cobblestone classics. The recent birth of her son, Faas, has not slowed down her commitment to professional cycling, as she shared that her pregnancy and childbirth went smoothly.
Olympic Ambitions and Career Beyond
Van Dijk’s primary focus for 2024 is the Olympic Games in Paris, where she aspires to compete for the Netherlands in the time trial event on 27 July. She faces stiff competition for selection, with teammates Demi Vollering and Riejanne Markus also vying for a spot. Despite this focus, van Dijk has no intention of retiring post-Olympics, provided her family life remains unaffected by her sporting commitments. Securing an Olympic medal, she insists, won’t signal the end of her cycling career.
Spring Classics and Grand Tour Goals
For the Spring Classics, Lidl-Trek is setting its sights high, with Milan joining the men’s classics squad and established riders like Pedersen and Stuyven ready to compete. The women’s team, bolstered by the return of van Dijk, will showcase the strength of Deignan, Longo Borghini, and Elisa Balsamo.
In the Grand Tours, Lidl-Trek has ambitious plans across all three events. Giulio Ciccone leads the team at the Giro d’Italia, supported by Andrea Bagioli, Milan, and Stuyven. For the Tour de France, Geoghegan Hart takes a leadership role, with Pedersen targeting stage victories. Pedersen will also aim for success at the Vuelta a España, joined by Mattias Skjelmose. The women’s team, including Deignan, Longo Borghini, Realini, and Balsamo, will target the Vuelta Feminina, Giro d’Italia Women, and Tour de France Femmes, showing a balanced approach to the season’s major races.