The most intriguing transfers of the 2023 season
A look at some of the riders who could make a big impact with their new teams this season
As ever, it’s been all change in the cycling world ahead of the new season, with many of the sport’s biggest names swapping teams. While the future of star riders Mark Cavendish and Nairo Quintana remain up in the air, most transfers for the 2023 season have been signed, sealed and delivered, among them these seven especially intriguing ones.
Dylan van Baarle to Jumbo-Visma
Though Wilco Kelderman has been signed to bolster their climbing line-up, Jumbo-Visma’s most significant improvement comes in their Classics roster with the arrival of Dylan van Baarle. We saw how much Tiesj Benoot and especially Christophe Laporte improved upon signing for the team last year, so the thought of what Van Baarle — who last year won Paris-Roubaix, no less — might achieve is mouthwatering. He won't be subservient to teammate Wout van Aert in the cobbled Classics, but a co-leader, and together they’ll make for the most fearsome duo of the spring.
Photo: Zac Williams/SWpix.com
Lorena Wiebes to SD Worx
Despite the emergence and improvement of newer women’s teams in recent years, there remains a significant gulf between the elite and rest, a gulf that has been reinforced by SD Worx signing Loreno Wiebes from DSM. Wiebes is so consistently better than every other sprinter in the world that she virtually guaranteed SD Worx a significant increase in season wins after the team ailed a little in 2021, and will also add an extra tactical dimension to their Classics line-up, potentially allowing Lotte Kopecky to ride more aggressively. DSM (who have also lost Liane Lippert to Movistar) can only hope that reserve sprinter Charlotte Kool and several new neo-pros will be able to soften the blow.
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Richard Carapaz to EF Education-EasyPost
Having started out as regular challengers for podium finishes on GC at the Tour de France, EF Education-EasyPost haven’t been as much at the front of Grand Tours recently, with High Carthy’s third-place at the 2020 Vuelta a España their only top five finish in five seasons. Enter Richard Carapaz, who arrives with the reputation of being one of the very elite GC riders in the peloton, having made a Grand Tour podium in each of the last four seasons.
It’s a major coup for EF, but a potentially risky one for Carapaz — though he’ll enjoy the status of being undisputed leader that a returning Egan Bernal would have threatened at Ineos Grenadiers, it’s to be seen whether EF will be able to give him the support he needs for a genuine challenge for the yellow jersey.
Silvia Persico to UAE Team ADQ
A breakthrough season for Silvia Persico — who was arguably the revelation of 2022 — has earned her a move to UAE Team ADQ, where she hopes to fulfil her considerable potential. Given the success of other Italian riders who have moved to the WorldTour following successful beginnings at Valcar Travel & Service, most notably Elisa Balsamo and Marta Cavalli, expectations should be high as to what she can achieve, and the extra support offered by a team of this level could help her convert her many impressive high placings at the biggest races into outright victories. The pressure will be on: the departure of Mavi García having left for Liv Racing already makes her the team’s star rider.
Photo: Getty Images
Adam Yates to UAE Team Emirates
Adam Yates transfer from Ineos Grenadiers to UAE Team Emirates epitomises an ongoing power shift from the former team to the latter. He follows in the footsteps of the aforementioned Richard Carapaz and Dylan van Baarle in leaving Ineos Grenadiers this year, as they put their faith instead in their emerging younger riders (including new signing Thymen Arensman), and joins the likes of Jay Vine, Tim Wellens and Felix Großschartner in adding to Tadej Pogačar ever-improving supporting cast at UAE Team Emirates.
Having enjoyed personal success during his two-year stint at Ineos, winning races like Volta a Catalunya and making the podium at the Vuelta a España, he’ll expect more leadership opportunities, but how will that be reconciled with Pogačar’s insatiable hunger for wins?
Photo: Getty Images
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio to AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step
Unable to resist the allure of one more season riding in the peloton, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio delayed her planned retirement to instead sign for the new AG Insurance - Soudal Quick-Step. Whether it’s been riding alongside the many stars of SD Worx, or for Marianne Vos at CCC, the South African has grown used to playing support roles in recent years, so it will be fascinating to see how she adapts to becoming the big fish in a small pond. Although she turned 37 last month, overall victory at the Tour de Romandie towards the end of last season suggests Moolman is still as good as ever, and is primed to make the most of her new-found leadership role.
Tim Merlier to Soudal - Quick-Step
One of the recurring patterns of recent years has been the significant improvement of sprinters upon signing for Quick-Step, so watch out for Tim Merlier to be even more prolific in 2023 than he has in his last two breakthrough seasons. He’ll have to share duties with Fabio Jakobsen, and the team have a new focus on GC following the blossoming of Remco Evenepoel, so the Vuelta will again be his only Grand Tour of the season; but he still has the potential to pick up a huge haul of victories in the Classics and stage races.
The future of the man he replaces, Mark Cavendish, remains uncertain, but elsewhere in the sprinting merry-go-round young talent Kaden Groves has been hired by Alpecin-Fenix to replace Merlier, while Fernando Gaviria is hoping for a new lease of light at Movistar.
Cover image by Getty Images