The Top 4 All-Time Women’s Cycling Team Rosters

SD Worx La Course 2021 GettyImages

Over the years, some of the women’s teams have managed to put together the rosters of a super-team. This year’s SD Worx line-up is one of them and their dominance in the peloton is clear. Teams with major stars are able to take the bulk of the available wins and that feels like what SD Worx has managed this year. You don’t have to go back too far to find another strong line-up, the 2018 Wiggle-High5 line-up was a great one on paper. Able to take wins on almost any parcours, it’s a surprise how little they won. They’re a cautionary tale about how off-bike issues can ruin a super-team.

2014 Rabo-Liv feels like the closest version of the current SD Worx line-up. It’s ridiculously stacked with riders and any team that includes all of Vos, Van Vleuten and Van der Breggen is seriously overpowered. Add in Brand, Niewiadoma and peak Ferrand-Prevot and you’ve got wins guaranteed. Going back another generation of riders, is the 2010 Cervelo TestTeam. With only 3 still-active riders, it feels less dominant to us now looking back at it. Emma Pooley had a huge season and although she quit early, Mirjam Melchers is a huge name on paper that harks back to the generation before even that one.

The interesting riders are those that were part of more than one of these teams. Anna van der Breggen was on both SD Worx and Rabo-Liv. Iris Slappendel on both Rabo-Liv and Cervelo TestTeam. Kirsten Wild on Wiggle-High5 and Cevelo TestTeam. It’s probably not surprising that all 3 riders are Dutch, given their dominance of women’s cycling in modern times.

2021 SD Worx

  • Karol-Ann Canuel
  • Elena Cecchini
  • Jolien D’Hoore
  • Niamh Fisher-Black
  • Roxane Fournier
  • Christine Majerus
  • Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio
  • Nikola Noskova
  • Amy Pieters
  • Anna Shackley
  • Lonneke Uneken
  • Chantal Van den Broek-Blaak
  • Anna Van der Breggen
  • Kata Blanka Vas
  • Demi Vollering

Major Wins

Omloop het Nieuwsblad – Anna van der Breggen
Strade Bianche – Chantal van den Broek-Blaak
Fleche Wallonne – Anna van der Breggen
Liege Bastogne Liege – Demi Vollering
Vuelta a Burgos – Anna van der Breggen
La Course – Demi Vollering
Giro d’Italia Donne – Anna van der Breggen

Summary

Strengths

The 2021 SD Worx team are one of the strongest teams the women’s peloton has seen. It contains 2 world champions in Anna van der Breggen and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and countless national champions. The team can dominate every race type with the classics well taken care of and climbers galore for mountainous races. Van der Breggen wins almost every race she puts her mind to. We’ve also seen her deliver teammates to their own victories, like Vollering’s Liege Bastogne Liege win. Christine Majerus is a superb swiss army knife for the team. She does a huge job closing down attacks, making her own attacks and still taking the odd win as well.

Weaknesses

Possibly the only weakness on the team is the sprinters but that’s really splitting hairs with the likes of D’Hoore and Pieters to call on. Plus Demi Vollering wins the tough sprints in major races. This group just aren’t quite as dominant as Van der Breggen is in GC battles and other teams can win against them. It’s still a line-up other teams would love to have.

2018 Wiggle High5

  • Katie Archibald
  • Rachel Barbieri
  • Eleanor Barker
  • Lisa Brennauer
  • Grace Brown
  • Audrey Cordon-Ragot
  • Amy Cure
  • Annette Edmondson
  • Emilia Fahlin
  • Grace Garner
  • Julie Leth
  • Elisa Longo Borghini
  • Martina Ritter
  • Macey Stewart
  • Lucy Van der Haar
  • Kirsten Wild
  • Eri Yonamine

Major Wins

Thuringen Ladies Tour – Lisa Brennauer
Prudential RideLondon – Kirsten Wild
Giro Rosa (stage) – Kirsten Wild

Summary

Strengths

There are some truly great riders on this team line-up in hindsight. Lisa Brennauer is a great all-rounder whose sprint and time trial sees her win GC race. Grace Brown has since come out as a rider with a huge engine. Audrey Cordon-Ragot’s race sense has seen her become a great road captain. Emilia Fahlin took 5 wins in the 2018 season and if it wasn’t for recent injuries would be winning more. Elisa Longo Borghini has shown her class in last few years, taking big wins. Lucy Van der Haar was a double junior world champion and Kirsten Wild a proven winner and top-drawer sprinter. Great track riders like Katie Archibald, Eleanor Barker, Amy Cure and Annette Edmondson also made up the squad.

Weaknesses

Somehow, all these talent riders didn’t manage to win as much as it feels like they should. Brennauer, Wild and Fahlin all had a decent season but behind the scenes there were issues. This was the team’s final season as fallings out with the owner became regular. Sports directors left at the start of the year, a rider requested a mid-season transfer and riders were told to sign a contract making them liability for broken wheels during national championship races (i.e. whilst not racing in Wiggle High5 colours). The team bus was also stranded in Mallorca as a disgruntled former employee took the registration plates of it, which left it unable to be re-registered on the island.

The full tale of all the issues explains some of the relatively lacklustre results given the potential this line-up has.

2014 Rabo-Liv

Major Wins

Fleche Wallonne – Pauline Ferrand-Prevot
Festival Elsy Jacobs – Anna van der Breggen
Women’s Tour – Marianne Vos
Emakumeen Bira – Pauline Ferrand-Prevot
Giro d’Italia Donne – Marianne Vos
La Course– Marianne Vos
Ladies Tour of Norway – Anna van der Breggen
GP de Plouay – Lucinda Brand
La Route de France (stage) – Iris Slappendel
Lotto Belgium Tour – Annemiek van Vleuten
World Championships RR – Pauline Ferrand-Prevot

Summary

Strengths

This version of the Rabo-Liv team has 3 of the absolute stars of the modern peloton – Vos, Van der Breggen, Van Vleuten. If there was such a thing as a cycling hall of fame, all 3 riders would be inducted immediately. Vos at this time was the dominant sprinter in the peloton, capable of winning almost anywhere. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot was at the peak of her all-round powers around this time and was rated the International Cyclist of the Year by VeloNews. Lucinda Brand took a big win at Plouay and Iris Slappendel a Route de France stage and the Dutch national champs. A young Kasia Niewiadoma and Sabrina Stultiens added great depth. This team could win any race on paper and often did.

Weaknesses

None? If we’re being really critical, this team didn’t win much on cobbles, despite having 3 future World Cyclo-cross champions. That’s pretty much it though!

2010 Cervelo TestTeam

  • Emilie Aubry
  • Charlotte Becker
  • Regina Bruins
  • Lieselot Decroix
  • Lizzie Deignan
  • Sarah Duster
  • Sharon Laws
  • Claudia Lichtenberg
  • Mirjam Melchers
  • Emma Pooley
  • Carla Ryan
  • Patricia Schwager
  • Iris Slappendel
  • Kirsten Wild

Major Wins

Fleche Wallonne – Emma Pooley
Festival Elsy Jacobs – Emma Pooley
Emakumeen Bira – Claudia Lichtenberg
Crescent Vargarda – Kirsten Wild
GP de Plouay – Emma Pooley
La Route de France (stages) – Sarah Duster, Lizzie Deignan
World championships TT – Emma Pooley

Summary

Strengths

Emma Pooley was in the middle of her best period of racing and took the biggest wins of the season for the team. Lizzie Deignan would go on to the win the World Championships, however at this point she was a strong teammate. She was also still balancing track racing with road racing. Kirsten Wild was already one of the best sprinters and classics riders in the peloton. She took multiple wins in smaller classics races in 2010. This was Mirjam Melcher’s last season as a pro rider but she added her experience as one of the best classic riders of all-time. The late Sharon Laws was a great domestique, along with Lieselot Decroix who is now a coach at Jumbo Visma. Claudia Lichtenberg was also a great climber who’d won the Giro d’Italia and Tour de l’Aude the season before. She won the Emakumeen Bira for Cervelo TestTeam in 2010.

Weaknesses

Stage races and elite climbers were the weakness for Cevelo TestTeam. Lichtenberg was good but often presented the only challenge by the team in these races. Pooley could manage the punchy climbs but not the true mountains. Wild probably didn’t win as many high-level races as we saw her do later on in her career although it’s tough to be too harsh. 2010 possibly was a touch too early for Deignan’s quality to come through yet and was definitely too late for Melcher’s peak and she left the team early. The stature of the names on this team though make it one of the best.

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