The 2022 season was yet again long and hard, producing success and disappointment in the men’s peloton, with the fight for UCI ranking points and places in the 2023 WorldTour adding an extra twist as well as extra demands on many riders.
Jai Hindley, Dylan Groenewegen, João Almeida and Christophe Laporte all raced for a new team, had new goals at the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and the Classic and new teammates to work with in 2022. Some struggled with the changes, injury or expectations and even COVID-19, while others revelled in the change.
These ten riders selected by Cyclingnews all impressed in 2022 after team transfers.
In due course we’ll be looking at the successes of the women’s transfer window, plus the flops on both sides but for now read on for a closer look at the men who made an instant impact in 2022 at their new teams.
- From: Team DSM
- To: Bora-Hansgrohe
- Wins: 2
- Highlights: Giro d’Italia
Jai Hindley was one of Bora-Hansgrohe’s new stage race strategy signings after they let Peter Sagan go for the 2022 season.
The likeable Australian was not under pressure or expected to immediately win the Giro d’Italia but he did, with some superb riding in the final week and then a decisive attack on the final mountain stage on the Marmolada to snatch the maglia rosa from Richard Carapaz.
It was redemption for Hindley after he lost the 2020 Giro d’Italia to Tao Geoghegan Hart and confirmed that he really is a Grand Tour contender.
Bora-Hansgrohe also showed their worth, backing Hindley as a team and proving their pivot to Grand Tours and stage races has been carefully constructed and executed.
Now it is up to Aleksandr Vlasov, Sergio Higuita, Lennard Kämna and Cian Uijtdebroeks to take the next big win, while Hindley seems set to try his hand at the mountainous Tour de France.
- From: Jumbo-Visma
- To: BikeExchange-Jayco
- Wins: 7
- Highlights: Stage win at Tour de France and two stages at the Saudi Tour
The powerful Dutch sprinter was a late signing and perhaps a gamble for BikeExchange-Jayco but one that delivered. He scored seven wins, a haul of UCI ranking points and an extra sense of purpose to the Australian team in 2022.
Groenewegen sensed his chances at Jumbo-Visma were limited and was looking for a fresh start after his 2021 ban for sparking Fabio Jakobsen’s life-threatening crash at the 2020 Tour de Pologne. The arrival of Giant bikes for 2022 helped fund his transfer.
The deal was only done in December 2021 but Groenewegen started the season fast and on form. He won two stages at the Saudi Tour, was second at the Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne WorldTour race, won the Veenendaal-Veenendaal Classic and took plenty of other placings. He definitely earned his place in this list and proved he was back to his best by winning stage 3 of the Tour de France to Sønderborg.
It was a moment of emotion and relief for the Dutch rider and he understandably celebrated with his father and new team beyond the finish.
"It was a long way [back]," Groenewegen said, referring not only to his chase after a crash in the peloton with 10km to go, but also his own return to success after the 2020 Tour of Pologne crash.
Groenewegen suffered through the Tour de France and was also second in the sprint on the Champs-Élysées. That helped give him the form to chase vital ranking points for BikeExchange-Jayco and take five top three results in a string of end of season one-day races.
- From: Deceuninck-QuickStep
- To: UAE Team Emirates
- Wins: 3
- Highlights: Stage race consistency
While some riders change teams for more freedom, João Almeida opted to move from Deceuninck-QuickStep to UAE Team Emirates to benefit from the stage race prowess of the organisation, even if he has little chance of team leadership at the Tour de France while Tadej Pogačar leads the line.
Almeida is quiet but smart and has made a career-calculating team change to take advantage of his talents. He struggles to hang on to the pure climbers but has the aerobic ability and determination to claw them back and the race skills to consistently be a contender in Grand Tour and stage races.
His 2022 season was derailed by COVID-19 on stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia while fourth overall but he bounced back to finish fifth at the Vuelta a España, even though the Spanish race had not been on his original programme and as he rode with, and then for, young teammate Juan Ayuso.
He also finished fifth at the UAE Tour, third at the Volta a Catalunya and second at the Vuelta a Burgos. He is Pogačar’s understudy and might be dragged into the Tour de France in 2023 to help the Slovenian but with 70 km of time trials at the Giro d’Italia, Almeida is also a favourite for the Italian Grand Tour.
- From: Cofidis
- To: Jumbo-Visma
- Wins: 5
- Highlights: Tour de France stage win, silver in World Championship road race
The quiet Frenchman was talent spotted for Jumbo-Visma’s Classics squad but many questioned if he could handle the change in cycling culture and expectations of riding alongside Wout van Aert.
His success in 2022, proved the doubters wrong and revealed Laporte’s true talents, suggesting his six seasons at Cofidis had held him back.
The success Laporte found proved he can target the Classics as a leader or key support rider, win sprints, be part of a Tour de France winning team and even end the season as team leader and silver medalist for France at the World Championships.
Laporte’s transformation at Jumbo-Visma was first seen in Mantes-la-Ville at Paris-Nice when he jumped away with Van Aert and Primož Roglič and was given the stage victory as a welcoming gift.
He paid the team back by dominating E3 Saxo Bank Classic with Van Aert and then taking another second place at Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields. He did the same at the Tour de France by helping Van Aert in the sprints and then protecting Jonas Vingegaard whenever needed, before winning stage 19 to Cahors with a superb riding sprint.
He rode on to win a stage and the overall at the Tour of Denmark, before finding another peak in Australia and the speed needed to win the bunch sprint behind Remco Evenepoel. He beat Michael Matthews, Van Aert and a host of other sprinters to confirm his status as one of the revelations of 2022.
- From: Israel Start-Up Nation
- To: Arkéa-Samsic
- Wins: 1
- Highlights: Tro-Bro Léon and WorldTour status for Arkea-Samsic
Success in professional cycling is traditionally measured in victories but Hugo Hofstetter showed his value by again racking up a huge number of placings in 2022, his haul of UCI ranking points ensuring Arkéa-Samsic’s place in the 2023 WorldTour.
He had done well in 2020 and 2021 but for some reason Israel Start-Up Nation let him move to Arkéa-Samsic and he doubled his points tally to 1217 in 2022, making him the 37th most successful points scorer in the peloton, just a few less than Dylan Groenewegen but a few more than Adam Yates, João Almeida and Ethan Hayter.
He only won one race, Tro-Bro Léon on the spectacular dirt roads of Brittany, but Hofstetter’s fast finish and some clever team strategy meant he finished in the top ten in 23 other races. Between Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on February 27 and Bredene Koksijde Classic on March 18, he finished in the top three six times in high-scoring one-day races, scoring a massive 560 points.
That helped Arkéa-Samsic to race the rest of the season without panicking about relegation, with Hofstetter even scoring points in the final races of late September and early October.
Any team expecting to be in the fight to avoid relegation for the next three WorldTour seasons should consider signing the 28-year-old Frenchman or any other rider who can consistently secure similar results.
- From: Qhubeka-Assos
- To: Israel-Premier Tech
- Wins: 1
- Highlights: Paris-Roubaix stage of the Tour de France
Simon Clarke went from unemployment to Tour de France success in 2022, in one of the biggest career turnarounds seen for years.
The 36-year-old Australian was always a valued and consistent team rider, yet when Qhubeka-Assos stopped at the end of 2021, he was left without a contract and faced a desperate battle to stay in the sport.
Israel-Premier Tech gave him a chance and a contract on January 12 and he soon paid them back with three top six results at the Challenge Mallorca races.
Against the odds Clarke then secured a spot in the eight-rider Tour de France squad and targeted the stage on the cobbles to Wallers-Arenberg. He got in the decisive break of the day, ensured it stayed away and then coolly beat Neilson Powless, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Taco van der Hoorn to win the most prestigious stage of the Tour.
COVID-19 stopped Clarke from riding onto Paris but he had already proved his worth, saved his career and secured a contract for 2023 and 2024 with a single superb performance.
- From: Lotto Soudal Development team
- To: Lotto Soudal
- Wins: 9
- Highlights: his wins gave Lotto Dstny automatic invitations to the Grand Tours and WorldTour Classics
While Arnaud Di Lie’s step-up from the Lotto Soudal Under 23 team to the the Lotto Soudal WorldTour is perhaps a not a full blown transfer between teams, he deserves his place in this list as the best rookie of 2022.
The 20-year-old French-speaking Belgian won 9 races between January and October, confirming he is one of the most promising NextGen sprinters in the peloton.
Di Lie beat Juan Sebastian Molano to win the final Challenge Mallorca race and went on to take other sprinters’ scalps month after month, each time celebrating with his bull horns gesture.
His wins were perhaps not in the biggest races but they were vital for Lotto Soudal. The team didn't manage to fight off relegation from the WorldTour but Di Lie helped them finish 14th in the 2022 team rankings and so secure automatic invitations to GrandTours and other major WorldTour races.
Di Lie has opted to stay with Lotto Soudal as they slip down to ProTeam status and become Lotto Dstny in 2023. He will surely be rewarded with sprint opportunities in some of the biggest WorldTour races.
- From: Trek-Segafredo
- To: Astana Qazaqstan
- Wins: 0
- Highlights: Fourth overall in his farewell Giro d’Italia
Vincenzo Nibali opted to return to the Astana team for his farewell season after two seasons at Trek-Segafredo, the 38-year-old Sicilian looking to enjoy his swansong while still targeting the Giro d’Italia and a final send off at Il Lombardia.
While at Astana between 2013 and 2016, Nibali twice won the Giro d’Italia – in 2013 and 2016) – and was also victorious at the Tour de France in 2014. He again showed flashes of his brilliance in May on home roads. He was fourth on the hot and hilly stage around Turin and rose to fourth overall in the final week with a show of gutsy pride.
Nibali suffered through the Vuelta a Espana to find some end of season form. He wanted to try to win a third Il Lombardia but the emotions of retirement were growing and his age told on the big day, yet he was given a bigger cheer than eventual winner Tadej Pogačar by the Italian tifosi.
Nibali’s final season in the peloton marked the end of an era for Italian cycling. He is already busy in his ambassador and advisory role with the new Q36.5 ProTeam, while the nation struggles to find its next Grand Tour contender.
- From: UAE Team Emirates
- To: Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
- Wins: 5
- Highlights: Scheldeprijs
Alexander Kirstoff is now 35 but yet again he proved his worth after moving from UAE Team Emirates to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, silencing those who write him off as each season passes.
Kristoff had to accept that Biniam Girmay was Intermarché’s best option and so team leader for the Classics but he loyally played a back-up role and encouraged his young teammate to make history as the first black African Classics winner.
The Norwegian is never the quickest rider to find his form but he is tough to beat after a hard race. He proved it again in 2022 by winning Scheldeprijs, opting to attack his younger rivals rather than wait for the sprint. He surged away from a small group of riders in the rain and cold with 7.4km to go, breaking his rivals' spirit and taking a rare solo victory.
Kristoff knew he was going to leave Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at the end of 2022 but he continued to win sprints and take placings for the rest of the season, including a third place on the final stage of the Tour and sixth at the World Championships.
He is not done yet and has signed a three-year deal with Uno-X, meaning he could also be one of the best transfers of the 2023 season.
- From: Drone Hopper-Androni
- To: EF Education-EasyPost
- Wins: 0
- Highlights: Second at the Japan Cup
Mid-season transfers are still a rarity in professional cycling but they can give a rider a huge opportunity. Andrea Piccolo moved from Drone Hopper-Androni to EF Education-EasyPost in August when the summer transfer window opened and immediately proved his worth.
Piccolo finished third at the world junior time trial in 2018 when just seventeen and was then European and Italian champion in 2019. He turned professional with Astana in 2021 but was then sidelined and let go due to health problems.
He joined Gazprom for 2022 only for the team to fold, with Gianni Savio offering him a chance at Drone Hopper-Androni. Fourth place at the Italian national championships captured EF Education-EasyPost’s attention, sparked his final transfer and saved his career.
Piccolo immediately showed his talents with fifth at the Maryland Cycling Classic, third at the Coppa Agostoni and second at the Japan Cup. There is surely much more to come from the Italian.
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