Cyclo-cross world champion in the under-23 category Fem van Empel has signed a two-year contract to race for the Jumbo-Visma Women's WorldTeam.
The Dutch rider will continue racing cyclo-cross with Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal when the season starts this weekend, but as of January 1 will be teammates with elite world champion Marianne Vos in the black and yellow of Jumbo-Visma.
"Although I'm still a novice compared to her, I hope we can help one another in the second half of the cross season. After all, you are stronger together than alone," Van Empel said in a press release.
"I am thrilled with this step. It feels like a reward for my hard work in recent years. The highest a rider can achieve is joining a World Tour squad, and I now get the chance. I'm convinced that I'll receive the best guidance here to advance, not just in terms of training and resources but also in terms of nutrition. I think that is very important. I do a lot on my own and try to do the right thing, but soon I will be certain everything is done right."
The team will allow Van Empel to continue to compete across multiple disciplines, mixing road and mountain bike racing in the summer and cyclo-cross over the winter.
"I would like to discover what I can still achieve on a mountain bike. Team Jumbo-Visma is going to support me in that."
A Dutch champion off-road, Van Empel has limited experience on the road but competed in the Thüringen Ladies Tour this season with the national team, and last year the Baloise Ladies Tour and Lotto Belgium Tour.
"I don't have much experience on the road yet, but I'm open to everything. I want to discover my qualities. I can't wait to begin riding multi-day races and spring classics. I think I’m pretty all-round. Both flat terrain and climbing hills suit me. Additionally, I have good explosiveness, so sprinting or an uphill finish should suit me, too."
Tayler Wiles, Elynor Bäckstedt renew with Trek-Segafredo
Trek-Segafredo announced new contracts for two riders who have had injury-plagued seasons, with American Tayler Wiles and Welsh rider Elynor Bäckstedt coming back with motivation to return to their usual level.
Wiles ended her 2022 season early after being diagnosed with iliac artery endofibrosis and undergoing successful corrective surgery. Now back on the bike, Wiles is looking forward to another year with the US team.
“I am so excited to be extending my contract with Trek Segafredo for another year,” Wiles said. “This season has been unbelievably difficult due to my injury and basically having to miss an entire calendar year of racing. The team has been really supportive of me through this and that has helped a great deal with my recovery and motivation for the future.
"I know I am capable of so much more than I was able to show in recent years due to being held back by the external iliac artery endofibrosis and I am so excited to see what I can do now that I am on the other side of the surgery. After what felt like a lifetime away from the bike I'm finally back on two wheels and have to do very specific physiotherapy daily to regain strength and balance, but I am very motivated!”
Elynor Bäckstedt, 20, spent swathes of her young career fighting injuries, but after another collarbone break this spring, she put in a solid season, helping her team win the team time trial in the Ceratizit Challenge and landing a silver medal in the British time trial championships.
“I’m really excited to be staying with Trek-Segafredo over the next two years,” said Bäckstedt. “The support I have received from the coaches and staff through a tough couple of seasons has been incredible, and after a solid period of training and racing without injuries I am seeing improvements in myself. Next year I really hope to have a good Classics season and to have the chance to showcase my strength in both the Spring Classics and some time trials.”
Campbell stays with BikeExchange-Jayco
Double Trinidad and Tobago national champion Teniel Campbell inked a new two-year contract with BikeExchange-Jayco, keeping her with the WorldTeam through 2024.
The 24-year-old won a stage of the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche last season but has been building a solid base as a teammate and gaining important experience with the 2024 Olympic Games a major goal for the future.
"Although I haven't had lots of personal results with the team since signing in 2021, I have gained a lot of experience over the last two seasons, and I am extremely hungry to put it to good use for the years ahead," Campbell said.
"I still have not fully discovered my capacities, but I think I've showed the team what I'm capable of, especially in the cobbled classics. Additionally, being a domestique rider for the past two seasons has also pushed me to discover new strengths which will come in handy.
"I am looking forward to the opportunities that have opened up for next year and to finally be able to stand on the podium at the end of races with both the national team and Team BikeExchange - Jayco.
"I believe we have what it takes to get on the podium more often next year. I am looking forward to seeing how much we can accomplish."
Movistar retains González, Oyarbide
"I think it's been a great year for the team," González said. "Mostly due to Annemiek [van Vleuten]'s victories in Giro [Donne], Tour [de France] and Vuelta [Ceratizit Challenge], but also contesting victories when she wasn't around -- for example, with Paula [Patiño], who completed a fantastic month of May.
"It will be my sixth year with the Movistar Team, and it's true that so many things have changed since the start. Our group is getting stronger and stronger with every season passing, with more responsibility and always someone available to contest the victory. I think we're improving in the way we race, while we've always been able to keep a good atmosphere between the riders, which makes it easier to work together. Next year's roster is expected to be even stronger, so I've got great hopes for us -- I hope I can continue to improve and offer my best level."
Oyarbide, also committed to the role of domestique, said she was happy to continue for another season. "It's been a really intense season, and one I'll keep good memories from, having been able to continue my progression. I kept doing well in all kinds of races: stage races, one-day events - and also improving my consistency, which is the biggest asset you can offer to a team, I think. I'm looking forward to enjoying that sixth year together, with all confidence we have in each other and big ambitions for the group as a whole."
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