2022 Season Summary
Another season and another 1st place in the women’s cycling rankings for SD Worx – their 6th in the last 7 seasons. Despite 11 Women’s WorldTour victories and that 1st ranked team status, 2022 wasn’t a year that possibly filled all expectations, however. Back in the Van der Breggen era, stage races and GC wins were de rigeur but in 2022, SD Worx only won 2 – Itzulia Women and the Tour de Romandie. The greatness of Annemiek van Vleuten’s season is partially to blame, as she locked out 3 of the biggest stage races. But races like Vuelta a Burgos fell through their fingers and they were non-entities at others like the Simac Ladies Tour or Tour of Scandinavia.
A strong start to the year set them up though, with a good classics campaign and a run of results that saw the team finish no lower than 5th until Vårgårda WestSweden at the start of August. Lotte Kopecky’s win at Strade Bianche in a head-to-head with Van Vleuten was a particular highlight and so was winning the Tour of Flanders in the Belgian national colours. The dominance of Demi Vollering at Itzulia Women, where she won all 3 stages and the GC boded well for the Tour de France Femmes but the Dutch rider was probably further away from Van Vleuten than was anticipated. She had to make do with 2nd place and the QoM jersey.
The season closed out with Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s first-ever Women’s WorldTour stage and then GC victory at the Tour of Romandie, a nice leaving gift with the team.
2022 World Ranking: 1st
2022 WorldTour Ranking: 1st
2023 Transfers In
- Mischa Bredewold
- Barbara Guarischi
- Femke Markus
- Marie Schreiber
- Lorena Wiebes
2023 Transfers Out
- Roxane Fournier
- Sina Frei
- Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio
- Amy Pieters
Riders to Watch in 2023
There are plenty of stars on the team and so the likes of Lorena Wiebes, Demi Vollering and Lotte Kopecky will do plenty of the front running. Behind them, it’s going to be interesting to see how Niamh Fisher-Black gets on now that Moolman-Pasio has moved on, effectively moving the young Kiwi another rung up the ladder. Already 5th in the Giro Donne in 2022, she will be starting to eye up GC podiums and wins. It will be a similar story for Anna Shackley who has moved into the 3rd best pure climber spot. The Scot is surely ready for some more opportunities as a GC rider.
Mischa Bredewold with the team support of SD Worx could be a very dangerous rider in 2022. I can see her making attacks and with SD Worx not doing the chasing, we’re likely to see more of those stick in 2023. She has the potential to do what Marlen Reusser does when not on the time trial bike. Speaking of the Swiss rider, she will want to back up her Tour de France Femmes stage win with some more results in 2022. Because of her strong time trial, there is surely a chance for some GC action in races like the Lotto Belgium Tour.
Lonneke Uneken and Blanka Vas are at interesting periods of their careers. With Wiebes now on-board, they will get fewer chances to sprint but with Chantal van den Broek-Blaak out for the year on maternity, both have a chance to pivot into her style of one-day rider instead. Vas in particular has been earmarked for that sort of role as a rider who can do well on rolling races and still have a bit of a kick at the end. Both are in danger of falling down the pecking order if they don’t carve out a leader role somehow.
SD Worx has gone out and splashed the cash on Lorena Wiebes to try and keep their place at the top of the rankings. They activated a clause in her contract that made her the highest-paid rider in women’s cycling. As a result, many of the other signings SD Worx has made are to buy themselves a lead-out train, something they haven’t really had before. With the likes of Barbara Guarischi and Femke Markus leading out Wiebes, on paper at least it feels hard to see how the era of dominance by Wiebes will change. Much was made of a clash with existing team rider Lotte Kopecky but publically everything seems to be rosy for now as they’ve stated they’re going for different goals. We’ve seen with Vollering and Moolman-Pasio that a pair of similar top-tier riders can end up not working well together on SD Worx.
There are also the youthful talents of Mischa Bredewold and Marie Schreiber to add to the team. Schreiber may be a year or two off from being a regular at the front of road races but those who have followed cyclocross this season will no doubt be impressed with her talent. Bredewold had definitely reached a time to leave Parkhotel Valkenburg in her own development. It remains to be seen what opportunities she will get on such a star-studded line-up, however. There is already a creeping doubt about SD Worx being the right place for young riders to develop in recent years, hopefully, this pair doesn’t stagnate whilst on the team.