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2022 team preview: Trek-Segafredo men

DOKKUM NETHERLANDS AUGUST 30 Mads Pedersen of Denmark and Team Trek Segafredo competes during the 17th Benelux Tour 2021 Stage 1 a 1696km stage from Surhuisterveen to Dokkum BeneluxTour on August 30 2021 in Dokkum Netherlands Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Mads Pedersen (centre) and Jasper Stuyven (right) will spearhead the team in the Classics (Image credit: Getty Images)

Who?

  • Manager: Luca Guercilena
  • Squad size: 31
  • Average age: 27.1

Trek took over the reigns as the team's lead sponsor back in 2014 and joined forces with Italian brand Segafredo two years later. The organisation prides itself on also running one of the most successful women’s teams in the WorldTour and in recent years has won Classics, occupied a step on the Tour de France podium, and brought on a raft of young talent from the U23 ranks.

Under the strong leadership of general manager Luca Guercilena, the team have become one of the most stable operations in the men’s WorldTour, with a strong emphasis on the Classics dating back to Fabian Cancellara’s time on the team, and a penchant for giving veteran GC riders a home.

They may not possess a megastar, like a Pogačar or a Van Aert, but there’s depth to the squad, as well a real sense that they want to develop young riders. 

How did they fare in 2021?

The American-registered team enjoyed a relatively successful season by their standards with 19 wins, a Monument and a stage at the Tour de France.

They were competitive on several fronts but the continued decline of Vincenzo Nibali and their lack of stage racing depth, as well as not having a marquee sprinter, held them back from consistently competing for major honours. 

They lost veteran road captain Koen de Kort to a life-changing accident mid-way through the season before creating the perfect management role for the vastly experienced ex-rider. Riders such as Julien Bernard, Gianluca Brambilla, Kenny Ellionde and Toms Skujins often epitomised the team’s attacking spirit but there were just two WorldTour wins all year – a statistic that must be broken in 2022. 

The team have signed 11 new faces in total for 2022, and while they’ve failed to try and replace Nibali with a stage racing leader, they have invested heavily in youth with several hugely talented signings.

The U23 world champion Filippo Barconcini is a star in the making, while Daan Hoole and Markus Hoelgaard join an already young and exciting contingent at the team. Tony Gallopin and Dario Cataldo continue the team’s ethos of signing veterans past their best, while the arrival of Antwan Tolhoek and Simon Pellaud could prove to be two of the shrewdest signings of the 2022 season. 

Key riders

Mads Pedersen: The 2019 men's road world champion won Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne at the start of the year and finished second in the Bredene Koksijde Classic before COVID-19 disrupted the entire team’s Classics operation. Injuries and a lack of form dominated the Dane’s summer, but he returned to the fore in the closing months of the campaign with a couple of wins and a string of impressive results.

It wasn’t the season Pedersen or Trek were hoping for, but he remains one of their best riders for both the Classics and stage races. What he lacks in pure speed he makes up for with one of the best racing brains in the peloton, and at 26 he should be closing in on his absolute peak. On his day he’s one of the few riders who can take on Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel and win. He’s a box office rider who delivers one big win each year.

Jasper Stuyven: The 29-year-old finally got his hands on the Monument win his career deserved with a consummate all-round performance at Milan-San Remo. While any rider would point to such a win as the mark of a successful season, there’s still a feeling that Stuyven could have achieved more during the campaign.

That’s perhaps harsh but fourth in Flanders, second into Le Creusot at the Tour, fourth in the Worlds and third in Paris-Tours show that there were plenty of near misses that could have changed his season from great to incredible. The hope at Trek is that, with a Milan-San Remo title under his belt, Stuyven can replicate that success more consistently in the Classics. He and Pedersen form a formidable duo. 

Milano Sanremo 2021 112th Edition Milano Sanremo 299 km 20032021 Jasper Stuyven BEL Trek Segafredo photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Stuyven slipped away to win Milan-San Remo earlier this year (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Giulio Ciccone: With Nibali returning to Astana and the team unwilling or unable to sign a marquee stage racer in the transfer market, Ciccone will be expected to step up in the Grand Tours. The young Italian has shown flashes of brilliance in the last few seasons but, at 27, Trek will be expecting an improved level of durability and consistency from their star climber, who incredibly has never finished the top 10 of a WorldTour stage race.

Ciccone, on his day, is a sensational talent – you don’t wear the yellow jersey by chance – and a climber-friendly Giro is the perfect terrain for a coming-of-age display. All of Italy - not just Trek - will be willing him on. 

Quinn Simmons: Trek-Segafredo could have jettisoned the American after his suspension for making 'divisive, incendiary and detrimental' social media statements in 2020, or simply let him run his contract down at the end of this year. However, they re-signed the 20-year-old, who insisted that he did not deserve to be suspended.

On a sporting level, Simmons remains a talent and his win in the Tour de Wallonie, coupled with a string of other impressive rides, illustrated his ability on the bike. His return on investment in the spring Classics may have been below his own expectations in 2021, but Simmons will no doubt put in head-turning performances next season.

BOURGENBRESSE FRANCE JULY 29 Quinn Simmons of United States and Team Trek Segafredo prior to the 33rd Tour de lAin 2021 Stage 1 a 1391km stage from Parc des Oiseaux to BourgenBresse 237m tourdelain on July 29 2021 in BourgenBresse France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Simmons has been controversial off the bike but remains a big talent (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Bauke Mollema: The Dutchman might be 35 but he remains the heartbreak of the Trek-Segafredo offence in both stage races and one-day hilly Classics. In fact, he’s pound for pound the best signing the team have made since losing Fabian Cancellara to retirement. He might not be a top 10 superpower in Grand Tours anymore, but his diesel-like qualities make him an excellent contender in long range mountain battles and take him deep into those Italian one-day Classics.

He’s an excellent reader of a race, and profits from going early when the pre-race favourites are busy sizing each other up. It’s somewhat surprising that the veteran has only once challenged for a KOM jersey in a major Tour but with his shift away from GC, that could become a target as he chases stages in both the Giro and Tour. Whatever happens, we can expect Mollema to race a full and versatile campaign, with plenty of all-out action and a few wins thrown in for good measure. 

Strengths

LEUVEN BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 24 UCI Nations Cup U23 First classified Team Italy with Filippo Baroncini of Italy Luca Coati of Italy Luca Colnaghi of Italy Marco Frigo of Italy Michele Gazzoli of Italy and Filippo Zana of Italy pose on the podium after the 94th UCI Road World Championships 2021 Men U23 Road Race a 1609km race from Antwerp to Leuven flanders2021 on September 24 2021 in Leuven Belgium Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

U23 world champ Filippo Baroncini is one of a number of young talents on the team next year (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Trek-Segafredo are arguably one of the strongest Classics squads in the peloton, with Stuyven and Pedersen in their prime and a spine running through the team that suggests that both riders will be ably supported through the spring campaign.

If the team can replicate their 2021 success with a Monument and a Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne title thrown in for good measure, the season will be deemed a success but Pedersen and Stuyven will be aiming to increase their shared win tally from four in 2021 to something more in line with their undoubted talent. 

Matteo Moschetti could chip in with some wins if he continues his development, while Mollema will lead the line and spearhead the team in Grand Tours and major one-day hilly races. The loss of Nibali should be seen as a strength as more riders will be allowed to step out from the Italian’s shadow and target their own success, but stage hunting and aggressive racing is going to be team’s main focus for the season. 

Daan Hoole looks like he could be on the cusp of a breakout year, while Baroncini could hit the ground running and become an instant success. He’s the real deal. Ciccone will be hoping to deliver at the Giro and if he can stay healthy a top-five on GC is within his bandwidth. 

Weaknesses

With Mollema trending towards one-day races and stage hunting, the team are without a proven GC threat in three-week races. The obvious candidate to fill the void is Ciccone but the Italian has failed to finish any of his last three Grand Tours, and his best result remains 16th at the 2019 Giro.

Granted, he was in a strong position during the final week of this year’s Giro before he pulled out but that’s a lot of pressure to put on a rider who has legitimate questions over his durability. 

There’s a lot to be excited about, with youth development a clear target for the team’s strategy, but if the Classics core fail to shine it’s hard to see where the major wins are going to come from. 

Verdict

Giro d Italia 2021 104th Edition 17th stage Canazei Sega Di Ala 193 km 26052021 Giulio Ciccone ITA Trek Segafredo photo Dario BelingheriBettiniPhoto2021

Ciccone has shown his talent but needs to add consistency (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Trek-Segafredo perpetually feel like a team in transition but the departure of Nibali and the signing of a raft of exciting prospects sets them up perfectly for the next few years. In Stuyven and Pedersen they have two of the best Classics specialists in the world, while Mollema will provide cover and consistency throughout the campaign. 

There’s certainly some filler on the 31-man roster but roughly a third of the squad won a race in 2021, which suggests that there’s some undervalued talent within their ranks, too. 

They still, however, lack a top-notch specialist sprinter and, without a superstar GC rider, they’re never going to punch above their weight when it comes to the number of wins they end the season on. They’re going to have to rely on quality over quantity but expect at least one of their young riders to make a name for themselves.

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Daniel Benson

 Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.