Updated: Jan 26
The 2023 cycling season kicked off Down Under. New riders in new jerseys, it always takes some time to adapt to the new team rosters. We analysed six big transfers to make sure you have a rolling start into the new season.
Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers to EF Education - EasyPost)
The tenacious Ecuadorian leaves INEOS Grenadiers for the Jonathan Vaughters led EF Education - EasyPost outfit. The 2019 Giro champion had a strange three years with Ineos, from the highs of winning the Olympic road race, to the lows of losing the Giro last year to Jai Hindley on the last mountain stage.
At his best he is one of the most capable climbers on the planet, but Carapaz is also able to turn a bigger gear than most, riding away from the true mountain goats up false flat climbs like Puerto de Navacerrada, where he held off the GC group to take his third stage in La Vuelta last season.
He enjoys the freedom of being able to race without fear, often putting his best performances in when he’s slightly under the radar. But will his new team be able to provide him with the support to win a grand tour? The Tour de France is his big goal this year, but it remains to be seen whether he can upset the odds against the likes of Pogačar and Vingegaard.
Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM to Team SD Worx)
Wiebes had arguably the finest season any sprinter had seen in many a year. Almost every sprint she took part in, she won, amassing a staggering 21 victories on the road and a glut of green jerseys to go alongside them. Such was her dominance, the UCI Women’s Team of the Year, Team SD Worx, came calling.
Almost every sprint she took part in, she won, amassing a staggering 21 victories on the road and a glut of green jerseys to go alongside them
But at just 23 years of age the Dutch rider's potential seems near unlimited. A three-year contract with the best team in the world will leave other teams quivering; who knows how many victories she'll pick up? However, some challenges remain. She's moving from a team that was dedicated to her success, to a team full of superstars. Wiebes goes in without her key lead-out woman, Charlotte Kool, who was present for 80% of the European Champions’ victories last season. Surrounded by talent Wiebes is guaranteed to fly, but will she be able to maintain such dominance in a team that will have other aspirations?
Dylan van Baarle (INEOS Grenadiers to Jumbo-Visma)
Ineos has experienced an exodus of talent over the winter, with the aforementioned Carapaz among a host of top tier riders leaving the team. Arguably the biggest loss of the season, however, comes not in the climbing ranks, but the cobbles. Dylan van Baarle had a spring campaign to remember. Second in the Tour of Flanders was quickly followed by an emphatic win in Paris-Roubaix. Jumbo-Visma’s classics team now tower above the rest, with last year's winner, and second place in Roubaix amongst their roster. Throw in the likes of Laporte, and Jumbo-Visma will be the team to beat in the spring.
But van Baarle’s skillset does not expire come May. He has also been a crucial carriage in the Ineos train through the rolling hills and mountain slopes of the Tour. Not only have Jumbo-Visma secured themselves one of the best classics riders of recent years - but the Dutch allrounder is a more than capable bodyguard for Jonas Vingegaard in July.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Team SD Worx to AG Insurance - Soudal Quick-Step Team)
A surprise move for the South African, who, at the beginning of last season, announced her retirement at the end of 2022. Come May she decided to ‘un-retire’ and by August had signed for Patrick Lefevere’s new women's team. Although now 37, her win in October at the Tour of Romandie showed that she is still at the top of her game. Her former teammate, Demi Vollering, is also one to keep an eye on, as Vollering should also benefit from this move. Now being the sole GC player at Team SD Worx.
Although now 37, her win in October at the Tour of Romandie showed that she is still at the top of her game
In a team of relatively inexperienced riders, Moolman-Pasio should provide great experience to learn from, as her teammates support her for one final season. With a spot in the Tour team all but guaranteed - will the South African have what it takes to challenge for the top step?
Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Deceuninck to Soudal Quick-Step)
The Belgian champion joins the Belgian team for 2023 and beyond. Although Merlier didn't have a vintage 2022 he still came away with five victories and a new contract with Lefevere’s outfit. The Tour de France stage winner has the speed to compete with the best, but will he find room at Soudal Quick-Step in front of the resurgent Fabio Jakobsen, who bested him at the European Championships?
The move is a risk for the 30-year-old, as history suggests that two sprinters in the Quick-Step team doesn’t always work out. But with a 2022 to forget, this change of scenery for the capable Belgian could be what he needs to reach the next level of sprinting. Soudal Quick-Step will provide him the platform to deliver wins, Merlier just needs to find the legs of 2021 to seize the opportunity.
Liane Lippert (Team DSM to Movistar Team Women)
Another big loss for Team DSM for 2023, Lippert joins the team of Annemiek van Vleuten. A capable ally in the high mountains, Lippert is sure to play a vital role in van Vleuten’s 2023, the Dutch World Champion is attempting to match the heroics of last season’s ‘triple crown’ in her final year before retirement. With the talented, punchy Floortje Mackaij also joining the squad, Movistar Team Women are building a capable team for a future without van Vleuten.
With the talented, punchy Floortje Mackaij also joining the squad, Movistar Team Women are building a capable team for a future without van Vleuten
The author's honourable mention
Tom Devriendt (Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux to Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team)
The surprise package in last year's Paris Roubaix, who after 257 gruelling kilometres finished fourth in the hallowed velodrome. The rest of the season was consistent if unspectacular. The Belgian finds himself at a brand-new team for 2023, headed by the South African Douglas Ryder, mastermind of Mark Cavendish’s resurgence for Team Dimension Data in 2016. An eclectic mix of riders, this will be an interesting team to watch through the next couple of years.