Drops continue search for 2019 funds - Women's news shorts

Lotto Soudal sign Nguyen, New coach for FDJ, Blais signs for Astana

Two weeks after they announced that their prospective 2019 backer had pulled out, the Drops team are still on the hunt for funding.

The British team lost primary sponsor Trek over the summer, with the bicycle manufacturer setting up its own women's team for next season. Drops had been confident of finding a new sponsor for the upcoming season, but a potential new sponsor pulled out just days before they were set to make an announcement.

Drops owners Bob and Tom Varney set up a crowdfunding page in the wake of the news with the hope of raising £250,000 to keep the team going. So far, more than 100 people have donated to the page with a total of over £12,000 being raised.

The team have been given a deadline of the end of November to raise the finances needed for the team.

Lotto Soudal sign Nguyen

Lotto Soudal Ladies had already confirmed their 13-rider roster for the 2019 season, but the Belgian team have added one more name to that list. The 21-year-old Vietnamese rider Thi That Nguyen will join the team in the new year.

Nguyen is a burgeoning talent and spent the last year riding for the women's team at the UCI World Cycling Centre. She started the year with a victory in the road race at the Asian Cycling Championships and a stage win at the Women's Tour of Thailand.

In May, she began racing in Europe and took a surprise win at the Dwars door de Westhoek a month later, beating Lorena Wiebes and Elisa Balsamo. She also took third at the GP Sofie Goos a few days later.

"I can look back on this season with satisfaction, especially with my victory at Dwars door de Westhoek in June," Nguyen said. "Although, I am disappointed about the Asian Summer Games in August, where I got fifth. I am now very much looking forward to setting the step to a UCI team. I'm a good sprinter and that's how I hope to contribute to Lotto Soudal's success. I am eager to reinforce the team. I know that Lotto Soudal is the best team for me at this moment in my career. I hope that I can set a good result [from] the beginning of the season and it's my goal to maintain a good condition all year long.

"The past season, I gained some experience in Belgian races and there are definitely a number of flat races on the calendar in which I have a chance of setting a good result. One of the things I'd like to work on is my climbing skills, so I can also do well in the hillier races."

FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope bring on new coach

The FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope team have bolstered their ranks with the addition of Flavien Soenen as a coach for next year. The 26-year-old has been working with the French VC Morteau-Montbenoît women's team.

Nicolas Maire and Cédric Barre, who joined the team at the start of this year, remain as directeurs sportive.

FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope have announced a 13-rider roster for the 2019 season. Charlotte Becker, Emilia Fahlin, Marie Le Net and Jade Wiel are all new additions, while Charlotte Bravard, Coralie Demay, Eugenie Duval, Shara Gillow, Maelle Grossetete, Victorie Guilman, Lauren Kiten, Evita Muzic and Greta Richioud are returning riders.

Astana Women sign Blais

After being fairly quiet in this year's transfer window, Astana Women's Team have announced their first new rider for the 2019 season. Candian Marie-Soleil Blais will join the team next year.

Blais only came to cycling seriously at the age of 24, having started off playing ice hockey. She is a two-time winner of the Criterium National de Montreal, which is run in conjunction with the men's WorldTour race, and a multiple Quebec Provincial champion.

"I always loved riding," she said in a team press release. "For me the bike has always been equivalent to freedom, and I saw it as a wonderful way for exploring new places. Hockey is a tough sport where injuries are quite common and at one point I realised I wasn't able to progress anymore and I thought that I had better chances in cycling. I loved it from the beginning and the more I learn the more I loved it, and now I'm very happy for this new step in my career.

"It would be awesome to earn a call for the next World Championships in Yorkshire, but on a longer term my goal is to represent Canada at the Olympic Games."

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