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Rally Cycling reinforce women’s squad with Kröger and Kuijpers

Mieke Kröger following Germany's gold medal performance in Mixed Relay TTT at 2021 UCI Road World Championships
Mieke Kröger following Germany's gold medal performance in Mixed Relay TTT at 2021 UCI Road World Championships (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Rally Cycling confirmed four more riders for its women’s squad in 2022, bringing on board German Olympian Mieke Kröger and Dutch rider Evy Kuijpers, while renewing contracts with US Olympian Lily Williams and standout junior Katie Clouse. 

The US-based Continental team has been bolstering its roster with sights set on moving to the top tier, submitting an application for a Women’s WorldTour licence for 2022 and 2023. Both Kröger and Kuijpers bring speed and experience for Classics-style terrain and stage racing.

“Both Evy and Mieke bring real depth and experience to the team for our early objectives,” said women’s team director Andrew Bajadali. "They are both strong rouleur type riders with proven abilities riding against the clock and in Classic-type races where wind and the elements play a significant factor.

“We’re also excited by the prospect of adding both of them to drive our lead-out efforts when a sprint situation is necessary. Their depth of experience, ability to communicate and physical strength will be invaluable, and will have a huge impact for the entire team, especially our younger riders.”

Kröger was part of Germany’s team pursuit gold medal performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games and she was also part of the German Mixed Relay TTT squad in Flanders.

“I’m looking forward to it. Racing under American management is something I’ve never experienced so I’m really excited,” Kröger said. 

“I’m looking forward to Roubaix again as I enjoy the Classics when it’s bad weather. My motor is really running during the last part of the season though, so I’m also looking forward to some smaller stage races where I perform well because of my time-trialling.”

The 28-year-old raced the past two seasons with the Hitec Products organisation, taking second overall at the Baloise Ladies Tour this year.

It is the second time in her career she has been on the same team with Kuijpers, last racing together in 2014 with Futurumshop.nl Zannata, both amping up the team’s Classics roster. 

Kuijpers, who raced with the Liv programme the past three seasons, got her start in cyclo-cross before turning professional in 2014. Handling, power, and the ability to race on different surfaces are all skills crucial for racing the classics that Kuijpers developed by racing off-road.

“I’m really looking forward to the Classics and the first edition of Tour de France Femmes,” Kuijpers, 26, said in the team press release. “Rally Cycling is a team with a lot of opportunities to work with young riders and I hope I can share my WorldTour racing experience."

Like Kuijpers, Williams and Clouse have cyclo-cross backgrounds and are versatile riders on the squad. Williams, 26, competed at the Tokyo Olympic Games on the track with Team USA and helped the team earn a bronze medal in the team pursuit. With limited road racing to focus on the track, Williams competed at the US Pro Road Nationals in June and was ninth in the individual time trial.

“We couldn’t have been part of a better road program during this time because Rally Cycling gave us pretty much complete flexibility to train exclusively for the track, which has been really necessary,” Williams said earlier this year. 

She trained for two years on the track with then-teammate Emma White, who retired from cycling earlier this month.

Clouse was a new addition to Rally Cycling this past season, with two top 20 results on stages at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana and a top 20 in the one-day Navarra Women’s Elite Classics. At just 20 years of age, she has earned 31 US national titles across disciplines of cyclo-cross, road and mountain biking.

Clouse signed through 2023 with Rally Cycling, while Williams was confirmed on a one-year deal.

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