The women’s cycling transfer season is nearly all done and dusted. Almost all of the major teams have confirmed their 2021 rosters and some big names are changing team for 2021. A total of 3 World Champions are swapping jerseys and a solid mix of youthful talent and established stars are on the move too.
A couple of the major teams are also changing their names for good measure (with a handy list of the changes below). The only major team leaving the sport for 2021 is the controversial Paule Ka team which didn’t quite see out the 2020 season. The demise of that team saw a lot of rider talent on the transfer market quite late on, but all the riders seem to have found a team to continue their careers with. With their own future secured in 2020, SD Worx will join the top-level Women’s WorldTour for 2021.
Team name changes
- Mitchelton-Scott > Greenedge Cycling
- CCC-Liv > Liv Racing
- Boels Dolmans > SD Worx
- Astana > A.R. Monex
Top 10 Women Cycling Transfers
Annemiek van Vleuten
Mitchelton-Scott to Movistar
One of the biggest stars in women’s cycling in recent years is on the move. Annemiek Van Vleuten has moved to the Movistar team to give their roster a huge boost as they move further away from being an almost exclusively Spanish team. It will be interesting to see how Van Vleuten fares without her erstwhile lieutenant in Amanda Spratt but fellow new signing Leah Thomas should take on that role with Katrine Aalerud also able to support on the climbs. Movistar might not have quite the same strength in depth as Mitchelton-Scott had, but Van Vleuten has shown she’s perfectly capable of doing it all by herself.
CCC-Liv to Team Jumbo-Visma
Another of the biggest stars and one of the greatest women’s cyclist of all time is also on the move. Marianne Vos makes the jump from the team she part owns to new team, Jumbo-Visma. Vos continues to rack up great results, including 3 stage wins at the Giro Rosa in 2020. She’ll be an undisputed leader on a young-ish Jumbo-Visma team which looks like it’ll be strong in one-day racing over GC battles.
Team Twenty20 to Canyon-SRAM
This deal was done before Chloe Dygert’s big crash in the World Championship time trial in Imola. It was also signed before some poorly thought out social media work was done by Dygert. So whilst Dygert’s recovery from the deep slice in her leg is going well, she’s been mired in controversy as her new team and sponsors continue to deal with the fallout. Once she’s able to go back to racing, this transfer has the makings of a huge deal. Racing a European season for the first time, Dygert has the opportunity to mix it with the stars and pick up major wins. The Tokyo Olympics will play a part in her 2021 season but she could be a dominant force in the women’s peloton.
Parkhotel Valkenburg to SD Worx
Parkhotel Valkenburg found some absolute stars in the pairing of Lorena Wiebes and Demi Vollering. A team their size can’t match the ambition of such riders though and they’ve now both moved on to the biggest teams. 2020 may see Vollering in the shadow of Anna van der Breggen, particular in the Ardennes races Vollering has done well in so far during her career. But once Van der Breggen retires at the end of 2021, Vollering should be the perfect replacement as a team leader. She podiumed Flèche Wallonne and La Course in 2020 and will be aiming for her first WWT victory.
Paule Ka to Rally Cycling
The demise of Bigla Katusha/Paule Ka after an up and down 2020 season freed up a number of top riders. Clara Koppenburg continues to show her GC ability with strong climbing performances. Moving across to Rally for 2021 could give her the chance to dominate some of the American stage races like Joe Martin and Tour of the Gila. Her usual favourites are the Spanish GC races but with no Emakumeen Bira on the calendar, there will be less opportunity. It’s intriguing to see how she fares with the big chance in scenery.
Paule Ka to Canyon SRAM
Harvey broke out in a big way in 2020, steadily improving in her results after lockdown before finishing 5th Overall in the Giro Rosa. She followed that by sprinting to 7th place on the Mur de Huy at Flèche Wallonne. Another casualty of the Bigla Katusha/Paule Ka problems, we’re still waiting to get confirmation as to where Mikayla will be racing in 2021. Canyon SRAM keep being mentioned, particularly as other teams have confirmed their rosters as closed already. In many ways it would make sense but I thought it was nailed on that fellow Kiwi Niamh Fisher-Black would join her brother at Jumbo-Visma and she’s gone to SD Worx!
We now know it is indeed Canyon SRAM that Mikayla Harvey has joined
CCC-Liv to SD Worx
Another star signing by SD Worx for 2021. Ashleigh Moolman has just won the first eSports World Championship on Zwift and has confirmed this will be her last 2 years in the pro peloton as she would like to start a family. She’s been a perennial favourite, particularly in races with an uphill finish or week long GC races. A nasty crash reconning this year’s Strade Bianche derailed her season a bit but she still go her usual class results. She’ll work as an exceptional 1B option to Anna van der Breggen’s 1A role.
Lotto Soudal to Liv Racing
With the funding reshuffle at Lotto Soudal, Lotte Kopecky has moved to the renamed Liv Racing (was CCC-Liv in 2020) for the 2021 season. A solid rider with an up-and-coming reputation for a number of years, Kopecky scored her first WWT victory at this year’s Giro Rosa before going on a great run of 4 top-4 places in the end of season Classics period. Definitely a sprinter, 3rd place at De Ronde showed that she’s potentially a genuine classics star in the offing as well. With other major stars on the team having moved on during this off-season, she’ll find herself the main option at Liv Racing.
Paule Ka to Ceratizit-WNT
Lizzy Banks broke out as a top quality rider during the 2019 season, attacking the breakaway to win a Giro Rosa stage. In 2020, Banks pushed on further with another Giro Rosa stage, 2nd in the rain at GP de Plouay and 6th at Omloop het Nieuwsblad. A rider that seems to excel in the toughest of conditions and another victim of the Bigla Katusha/Paule Ka fallout. She’ll take on a mix of working for others and getting her own opportunities to shine, particularly in the Classics where she should be the team leader more often than not.
Valcar to FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
Cavalli is leaving Valcar after 4 years with the team. Over the last couple of years, she’s been developing well as a solid one-day racer with a good sprint. She sprinted to 4th at the Giro Rosa and was mixing it with the biggest sprinters to finish 5th at Gent Wevelgem too. She’s got the potential to be the young Italian rider that follows the achievements of Marta Bastianelli as she’s already looking like a very similar rider. FDJ is an interesting team for Cavalli to move to, they have a number of fairly similar riders in Borgli, Fahlin and Duval. It’ll be engaging to see how she carves out a role and successful results.