Mathieu van der Poel’s Alpecin-Deceuninck team announced they have signed the promising young Frenchman Axel Laurance from the B&B Hotels-KTM squad that collapsed after failing to secure their intended sponsorships for 2023.
Laurance will spend the 2023 season racing for the team’s development squad before moving to the WorldTour team in 2024, Alpecin-Deceuninck said. The team already have the maximum of 30 riders for their first season in the WorldTour in 2023.
The 21-year-old joined B&B Hotels as a trainee in 2021 and signed as a neo-pro this season and quickly showed his promise by briefly leading the Tour of Rwanda.
He landed his first WorldTour podium finishing second to Wout van Aert in the Bretagne Classic-Ouest France in August, then picked up his first professional victory in the CRO Race when he bested two Bahrain Victorious riders – Jonathan Milan and Matej Mohorič – in the sprint on stage 3.
Laurance should fit right in with the Dutch team of multi-discipline specialists. He raced cyclocross as a junior and under-23, putting in one full season in 2019-2020. He continues to compete at the national level in France and recently won the Championnat du Morbihan de Cyclo-Cross in Locminé.
He is set to follow a similar path to the team’s WorldTour squad as Italian rider Nicola Conci, who the team picked up mid-season in 2022 after the demise of Russian squad Gazprom-RusVelo. Conci has stepped up to the main squad for 2023 while Guillaume van Keirsbulck followed the same path in 2020 after CCC folded.
Their business for the off-season complete, Alpecin-Deceuninck will welcome Søren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM), Ramon Sinkeldam (Groupama-FDJ), Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Kaden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco), Robbe Ghys (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), and Jensen Plowright (Groupama-FDJ Continentale) to their team next season.
At B&B Hotels-KTM, meanwhile, Laurance is the eighth rider to have found new employment for next season. Luca Mozzato is off to Arkéa-Samsic and Victor Koretzky is also switching to the WorldTour with Bora-Hansgrohe.
Quentin Jauregui (Dunkerque Grand Littoral), Cyril Barthe (Burgos-BH), Maxime Chevalier (Laval Cyclisme 53), Alain Boileau (VC Rouen 76), and Adrien Lagrée (Sojasun espoir) have found new deals, too, while Pierre Rolland, Jonathan Hivert, Cyril Lemoine, Thibault Ferasse, and Julien Morice have all announced their retirements.