Team DSM-Firmenich has announced a significant reinforcement of its Women’s programme, confirming the recruitment of riders Rachele Barbieri, Josie Nelson, and Abi Smith. Barbieri and Nelson are committed until 2026, while Smith has signed on until 2025.
Rachele Barbieri, a versatile Italian cyclist with a background in both road and track disciplines, is set to join the roster. According to the team’s head coach, Rudi Kemna, Barbieri’s sprinting prowess and lead-out capabilities make her a fitting addition to the team’s sprint group. She will primarily serve as the final lead-out rider for Charlotte Kool, the team’s designated finisher, but will also be given opportunities to go for her own wins. Barbieri expressed her enthusiasm about joining a team she had long admired, citing their unity and work ethic as key attractions. She aims to contribute to the sprint group and learn from the team’s experts to further her career.
Josie Nelson, a young British rider with a multi-disciplinary focus, is another new recruit from Team Coop-Hitec Products. Nelson gained prominence with an impressive second place at the British National Championships road race, and her recent performances suggest an inclination towards classics and climbing. Kemna spoke highly of her diverse skill set, stating that her varied strengths make her an asset in different terrains. Nelson herself acknowledged that joining Team DSM-Firmenich was crucial for her growth as a rider. She cited the team’s reputation for nurturing young talent as a decisive factor in her decision to sign.
The final addition to the squad is Abi Smith, a former triathlete who transitioned to full-time cycling. Despite facing challenges such as illness and injury, Smith’s promising results, including a win at the Rás na mBan and a top-10 finish at the Tour Down Under, underscore her potential. Kemna highlighted Smith’s “big engine” and saw her as a future all-round rider capable of excelling in various roles, from controlling the breakaway to deeper roles in races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Smith expressed her eagerness to be part of a squad she considers the best in terms of camaraderie and teamwork. She is keen to exploit the team’s resources to develop into a versatile rider.