Lotta Henttala returns to racing with AG Insurance-NXTG after maternity leave

Lotta Henttala
Lotta Henttala is making her racing comeback (Image credit: Getty Images)

Lotta Henttala (née Lepistö) will make her return to the women’s professional peloton in 2023 at AG Insurance-NXTG following a period away from the sport to have her child. 

Henttala has enjoyed a successful racing career, most notably winning Gent-Wevelgem in 2017 and two stages of the Women’s Tour as well finishing on the podium in several other races including the World Championships road race, RideLondon Classique and La Course.

She joined Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling in 2021, and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics as the sole Finnish representative in the women’s road race but was unable to race after she became pregnant with her son, Olavi.

“After having my son Olavi in January I started riding again in March. I really enjoyed it and the idea of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games were immediately on my mind. It's such a great, flat course and I am very ambitious,” Henntala said in a team press release.

As well as taking maternity leave, Henntala has cited burnout as a reason for her long absence from racing.

“I never told anyone I retired officially but it’s also known that I struggled mentally for a while. That is now behind me,” she added.

“My perspective has changed. Of course, I am very ambitious for this new start to succeed and I have Paris on my mind because it’s such a great, flat course but I also always know that for Olavi it doesn’t matter whether I come last or first.” 

Henttala will join AG Insurance-NXTG alongside Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, her former teammate at Cervélo-Bigla Pro Cycling back in 2017. The arrival of these two riders signals the team’s ambition as it seeks to model itself as a sister team to QuickStep this year and obtain a World Tour license for 2023.

During Henttala’s time away, women’s cycling has continued to grow with the inaugural editions of the Paris-Roubaix Femmes and Tour de France Femmes.

“It’s an exciting challenge coming back from a very low level. It’s going to be a discovery to see how far I can take this,” she said. “Women’s cycling is so exciting at the moment and I would love to be part of that again. I have been following it closely as Eurosport commentator and the level is high! 

“Things are changing so fast and I want to be part of that change too. Races like Paris-Roubaix would be a dream to ride and hopefully I will be ready to do that already next year, if not in 2024.”

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