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2021 Team Preview: Trek-Segafredo Women

SANMARCOLACATOLA ITALY SEPTEMBER 18 Arrival Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy and Team Trek Segafredo Celebration Elisabeth DeignanArmitstead of The United Kingdom and Team Trek Segafredo UCI Leader Jersey during the 31st Giro dItalia Internazionale Femminile 2020 Stage 8 a 915km stage from Castelnuovo della Daunia to San Marco la Catola 640m GiroRosaIccrea GiroRosa on September 18 2020 in San Marco la Catola Italy Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Lizzie Deignan (wearing purple jersey) and Elisa Longo Borghini finished as top two riders on 2020 Women's WorldTour (Image credit: Getty Images)

In just their third season for the Trek-Segafredo Women, the powerful pair of Lizzie Deignan and Elisa Longo Borghini finished the year 1-2 in the UCI Women’s WorldTour individual rankings. Third overall as a team in 2019, Trek-Segafredo took the top WWT team position to sweep the 2020 rankings.

A cohesive roster of 10 core riders will return in 2021 to support Deignan and Longo Borghini, including Lucinda Brand, Audrey Crodon-Ragot, Ellen van Dijk, Lauretta Hanson, Letizia Paternoster, Tayler Wiles, Ruth Winder and veteran Trixi Worrack. Returning to showcase young talent in a full season are 18-year-old Elynor Bäckstedt of Great Britain and 18-year-old Shirin van Anrooij of the Netherlands, who signed as a trainee in August. Two new additions bring a lot of firepower - Chloe Hosking, who joins from Rally Cycling, and Amalie Dideriksen, previously at Boels Dolmans.

The team came away with 12 victories last season, four of those national titles won by three riders, and would have won more if the season had not experienced a condensed calendar of events. “Even though it’s only our second season as a team, it wasn’t a surprise to me that we did so well,” Deignan said.

Manager: Luca Guercilena

Team Size: 14 riders

Average Age: 27.9

How did they fare in 2020?

Wins: 12

WorldRanking: 1st

Beginning in January, US road race champion Ruth Winder won a stage and the overall at the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under. Then along with Tyler Wiles, the team secured top 10s by both riders at the opening WTT event on the calendar, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Wiles in fourth and Winder in eighth. The momentum continued in February as Ellen van Dijk delivered a pair of top-five finishes at one-day Belgian races, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and La Samyn des Dames.

Momentum continued in August when racing resumed, Longo Borghini netted a top-five placing in Strade Bianche followed by Deignan’s back-to-back wins in GP de Plouay and La Course by Le Tour de France, which rocketed her to the top of the WWT rankings.

At Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile, Trek-Segafredo captured its biggest goal of the year, winning the team time trial on stage 1. Longo Borghini went on to win stage 8 and finish third on GC. In the closing weeks of 2020, Trek-Segafredo grabbed two podiums at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes, Deignan taking a solo victory and Van Dijk securing third, then scored top 10s at three other Classics. In the final WWT competition, Trek-Segafredo was the top team in the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta, with Longo Borgini second and Van Dijk fourth on GC. 

“In 2020, we achieved specific goals and accomplished even more by winning the WWT team and individual classifications. I think this proves we came out of lockdown in good shape, physically and mentally,” said Ina Teutenberg, team director. “The Giro Rosa TTT was a big goal of ours, and I consider that one of the highlights of our season.”

Trek-Segafredo’s Lizzie Deignan races to victory at the 2020 Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Trek-Segafredo’s Lizzie Deignan races to victory at the 2020 Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Key riders

Lizzie Deignan: The former World Champion was at the top of her game in 2020. Deignan captured the top spot as the season's best individual rider for a second time in her career, and renewed her contract through 2022 with Trek-Segafredo. She reached a number of her goals, including a haul of wins in the Classics, like the Tour of Flanders, Strade Bianche, and the GP de Plouay-Bretagne where she seized a third victory. She also took wins at the prominent WWT events La Course by Le Tour de France and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. 

The one objective still on her radar is another medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games (she won silver in 2012), which was delayed a full year because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Elisa Longo Borghini: Beginning her 10th professional season, the Italian notched 14 top-10 results in WWT races last season. She collected her second road and fourth time trial National titles, a silver on the road at the European Championships and a bronze on the road at Worlds. At stage races, Longo Borghini won her first-ever Giro Rosa stage, finishing third on GC, and ended the year with second overall at Challenge by La Vuelta. The Olympic Games are also a target for her, to improve on the bronze medal she won in the 2016 road race in Rio.

“I think it has been the craziest season I’ve had in my career and also the one where I’ve achieved the most. I’ve been really consistent all season long. I’ve had a lot of top-10 results from the very beginning," she said.

Ellen van Dijk: The 33-year-old veteran is one of the strongest in the peloton in any discipline and had a brilliant season with 11 top-10 honours. One of her standout performances was a bronze medal at Worlds in the time trial, racing as a late addition on the Dutch team to replace Annemiek van Vleuten who had fractured her wrist just a week before. She was second in the European Championships in the ITT and on the podium for third at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Ruth Winder: US road race national champion Ruth Winder had a blazing start to 2020, winning a stage and the GC of the Santos Women's Tour Down Under. While she did not land on a podium when racing resumed in late summer, she was part of the endless breakaways and attacks to support the team’s continued successes.

Chloe Hosking: The Australian sprinter scored three wins in 2020 while riding for Rally Cycling, including a stage at the Tour Down Under and at the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche. Now in her 12th season, the veteran has a total of 36 pro wins.

Amalie Dideriksen: At just 24 years of age, Dideriksen adds strength as a proven sprinter with Boels-Dolmans the past six years. The former World Champion and four-time Danish road race national champion added the TT national crown last year.

GROSSETO ITALY SEPTEMBER 11 Audrey CordonRagot of France Elisabeth DeignanArmitstead of The United Kingdom Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy Ellen Van Dijk of The Netherlands Tayler Wiles of The United States and Ruth Winder of The United States and Team Trek Segafredo during the 31st Giro dItalia Internazionale Femminile 2020 Stage 1 a 168km Team Time Trial from Grosseto to Grosseto TTT GiroRosaIccrea GiroRosa on September 11 2020 in Grosseto Italy Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Trek-Segafredo won the team time trial on stage 1 of the 2020 Giro Rosa (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Strengths

Trek-Segafredo continues to compose an assembly of strong riders with solid harmony, illustrated best by winning the TTT at the Giro Rosa last year. The Deignan-Longo Borghini duo worked as a strategic tandem to dominate races in 2020, and that should not change this year. In fact, Deignan had initially planned to retire at the end of 2020, and decided to prolong her career to pursue ambitions with the Olympic Games.

Consistency from Van Dijk and Winder are major assets and make the options endless for Trek-Segafredo to close more finishes. The team continued to build an arsenal of speed with the additions of Dideriksen and Hosking for the new season, giving them even more options for one-day victories and GC glory. 

Look for results from cyclo-cross powerhouse Lucinda Brand, who took the bronze at Worlds last February, and heads into the 2020-21 Cyclo-Cross Worlds with nine wins so far. Four-time French ITT champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot, who won her first road title in 2020, will fortify aggressive riding in breakaways, attacks and counter-attacks.

Weaknesses

Finding faults on the world’s top team is a challenge, since they have such depth and can reshuffle as needed should one of the leaders stumble. There is, however, not a stockpile of young talent to develop this year, as the three under-23 riders – 21-year-old Italian Letizia Paternoster, Van Anrooij and Bäckstedt, who was sidelined after May with a tibia fracture suffered in a mountain bike crash. With the abbreviated 2020 season, Brand is still a bit of an unproven commodity, as she only finished five of the nine one-day races on her schedule. 

Verdict

Collaboration and consistency will keep the Trek-Segafredo Women in contention in one-day and stage races. The team has a deep pool of talent that has the experience and continues to be aggressive with its strategy. Deignan and Longo Borghini have more than enough support to pile up podiums and wins.

“I think we can further build on that strong team base for next season and try to win some more big races. The riders trust each other and are individually willing to give it all for the team. I think that had a big impact this season and one of the key reasons why we were so successful,” summed up Teutenberg.