As the countdown to the 2024 season gathers pace, Cyclingnews looks at some of the key storylines that will define the coming year in cycling.
One of the biggest storylines to watch in the new season will be how the major women’s teams shake up to dominance of the all-powerful SD Worx in 2024.
SD Worx had an outstanding season last year with a whopping 62 victories and many 1-2 performances that added an element of depth to the team that no other squad could rival.
In fact, the most frequent question directed at rival teams and riders during pre-race press conferences began to sound like a tune stuck on endless repeat: “How are you going to beat SD Worx?”
The team’s biggest wins came from Demi Vollering, who ended up winning the overall title at the 2023 Tour de France Femmes. She also won Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège for an Ardennes Classics clean sweep, and then moved on to win overall titles at Vuelta a Burgos, Tour de France Femmes and Tour de Romandie.
And then there were Lotte Kopecky’s wins at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Tour of Flanders, and Thüringen Ladies Tour. Her most remarkable stretch of the season came in July and August. At the Tour de France Femmes, she won the opening stage, wore the yellow jersey for six days, and closed out the eight-day race by winning the green points jersey and taking second overall behind Vollering.
The performance stunned the cycling world and absolutely verified her capacity as a cyclist across flats, hilly and mountainous terrain in time trials. She went on to show her absolute completeness as a rider when she won three world titles at the combined UCI World Championships in Glasgow.
The team’s strength was not in just two riders alone; rather, their depth is what makes them almost unbeatable. Lorena Wiebes, Marlen Reusser, Blanka Vas, Mischa Bredewold, Niamh Fisher-Black, Christine Majerus, Marie Schreiber, and Lonneke Uneken all secured wins last year.
By the mid-summer stage racing season, even the likes of now-retired Annemiek van Vleuten, who raced her last season in the rainbow bands of world champion, chimed in on how rival team could race more effectively against SD Worx.
Ahead of the second edition of the Tour de France Femmes in July, members of the press asked Van Vleuten if she was worried about the dominance of SD Worx in 2024.
“In general, it worries me that next year , it should not be the same again. It’s not about SD Worx, and it’s more about…