Raaijmakers, Buijsman join Rally Cycling

Marit Raaijmakers (L) on the attack with Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling) at Gent-Wevelgem in 2020
Marit Raaijmakers (L) on the attack with Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling) at Gent-Wevelgem in 2020 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The Rally Cycling women's team announced the signing of Dutch riders Marit Raaijmakers and Nina Buijsman, who both raced this year with the Parkhotel Valkenburg squad.

Buijsman, 23, and Raaijmakers, 22, have been with the Dutch outfit for five and four years, respectively, but are ready for "a new adventure" as the American squad bid for a Women's WorldTour license.

Raaijmakers, who signed with the team through 2023, says she is "ready for something new".

"I'm really looking forward to getting to know the team and learning their strengths so we can deliver results together," Raaijmakers said.

This season she won the Watersley Women's Tour, a three-stage UCI 2.2 stage race in the Netherlands, having made the winning move on the first stage, then defending her lead in both the GC and mountains classification. She also was the best young rider in the Trophée de Grimpeuses.

Raaijmakers also has a background in track racing, having won silver medals in the European Championships as a junior in the team pursuit and points race.

"I think track is really good for road training because even when you're not fully recovered you can go again," says Raaijmakers. "That's something I bring to the road – and also the ability to make tactical decisions."

Buijsman signed on a one-year deal, bringing climbing prowess to the team. This season, she won stage 2 of the Tour de Feminin, a UCI 2.2 stage race in the Czech Republic, and claimed the mountains classification in the Ladies Tour of Norway.

"I enjoy breakaways and jumping into the action at the races," Buijsman said. "To race with my heart and go fully into it and not wait the whole race for something to happen is how I like to ride.

"I'm really looking forward to this new adventure. Racing with new girls on an American team is something I'm very excited about."

Women's team director Joanne Kiesanowski expects both riders to excel in stage races in the coming years.

"Both Marit and Nina have shown that they are promising stage racers this year," Kiesanowski said. "Marit showed a lot of progression with her GC victory at Watersley and Nina has shown great consistency this fall block, adding to her fantastic jersey victory in Norway.

"They both have the ability to race full-out in the WorldTour," Kiesanowski added. "We're excited to work with them and help them develop into top stage racers."

Rally Cycling said it would announce its final team for 2022 next week. The team already announced the signing of Mieke Kröger from Team Coop-Hitec Products, Henrietta Christie from BePink, Evy Kuijpers from Liv Racing, and Barbara Malcotti from Valcar Travel & Service. Remaining with the team so far are Katie Clouse, Olivia Ray and Lily Williams.

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