Pirrone seeks world-class return at Israel Premier Tech-Roland - 2023 Team Preview

Mia Griffin, Silvia Magri, and Elena Pirrone of Team Israel Premier Tech Roland at the Women's Tour Down Under 2023
Mia Griffin, Silvia Magri, and Elena Pirrone of Team Israel Premier Tech Roland at the Women's Tour Down Under 2023 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Israel Premier Tech-Roland has undergone significant upgrades in their second season on the Women's WorldTour as Israel Premier Tech increased its funding and moved into a title sponsorships role while the team hired 10 new riders for the 2023 season. 

Among the new signings is a former double junior world champion, Elena Pirrone, aiming to get back to the top of her game on the world-class pro cycling stage.

I really want to return to that level," Pirrone said. "It would be a really big goal for me."

Pirrone, now 23, won double world titles in the junior women's road race and time trial in 2017 before joining team Astana for two seasons. She then spent three seasons with the successful development team Valcar Travel & Service, where she said that despite their support, she experienced a few down seasons. Now she hopes to get her cycling career back on track at the highest level.

"I had a [tough] period in the last few years. I didn't find myself, so one big goal for me this year is to refind myself, to re-find the past Elena. I'm doing my best for it. I think, with this team, I could do my best and achieve my goals and maybe do some good results that I really need."

Pirrone joined her new team for a pre-season training camp in Girona, where she was introduced to her teammates for team bonding activities and training rides. "It was really nice to see all the girls, and I think we are a good group together, I'm really looking forward to the next season," she said.

Starting as Cogeas-Mettler Pro Cycling in 2018, the team was a surprise addition to the Women's WorldTour in 2022, joining a total of 14 teams with top-tier licences. The team was previously registered in Russia but based in Lausanne and became registered in Switzerland. 

Tamara Dronova (Israel Premier Tech Roland)

Tamara Dronova (Israel Premier Tech Roland) (Image credit: Israel Premier Tech Roland)

Now in its second season at the top level, it has all but transformed, re-signing only three riders from the previous year, Tamara Dronova, Caroline Baur and Hannah Buch, and hiring 10 new riders this year.

Pirrone joins incoming recruits Fariba Hashimi, Sofia Collinelli, Fien Delbaere, Nathalie Eklund, Mia Griffin, Silvia Magri, Thị Thật Nguyễn, Claire Steels, and Lara Vieceli.

"They are all motivated. So it's ultra motivating for me. They want to have a great season, and they are all doing their best to achieve their goals. I have found this team to be really positive,' Pirrone said.

"We don't have the big individuals, but I think if we ride together and close to each other, we can achieve many good results, and this could be our goal. 

"We are a young team, except for one or two riders, but most of all are younger. I think we could grow up and can make something good for this season. We have nothing to lose."

Dronova will almost certainly lead the Israel Premier Tech-Roland team on the Women's WorldTour. She has the most experience and was in a position to bring the team top results in 2022. In an interview with Cyclingnews she said the team only needs time and more experience before they begin to show themselves in the races.

Her highlights for the team included 8th Gent-Wevelgem, 6th Navarra Classics, and top-10s in stages at Vuelta a Burgos, Tour de France Femmes, Tour of Scandinavia, Simac Ladies Tour, and Tour de Romandie.

"Tamara is really strong," Pirrone said. "She's also really focused on what she's doing. And yeah, she raced a lot last year, and in every race, she arrived in the front. I think she's very strong and will be our captain next season."

Other storylines to follow in 2023

URAIDLA AUSTRALIA JANUARY 16 Claire Steels of United Kingdom and Team Israel Premier Tech Roland celebrates at podium as most combative rider during the 7th Santos Womens Tour Down Under 2023 Stage 2 a 90km stage from National Motor Museum Car Park Birdwood to Greenhill Road Uraidla TourDownUnder UCIWWT on January 16 2023 in Uraidla Australia Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Claire Steels at the Tour Down Under (Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Claire Steels is the team's new signing from the Sopela Women's Team. A series of strong results last year included 8th overall at Tour de l'Ardeche and 5th at La Perigord. She recently earned the most combative rider on stage 2 at the Tour Down Under, and then finished 8th in stage 3, and adds to the team's climbing strength in 2023.
  • Fariba Hashimi, the winner of the Afghanistan National Championships, will step up to the Women’s WorldTour level in 2023 with Israel-Premier Tech-Roland. Soon after pulling on the Afghanistan national champion’s jersey, Hashimi secured a surprise contract to race at the highest level. Watch for her to continue her development in the biggest races.
  • A series of Italian riders reunite alongside Pirrone, including Sofia Collinelli,  Silvia Magri, and Lara Vieceli. Most of the riders on the team are new incoming talents, but these four riders will have already raced together on trade teams and the national team during their rise to the elite ranks.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Kirsten Frattini
Women's Editor

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.