Paris-Roubaix Femmes runner-up Katia Ragusa leads a trio of powerful riders joining the Human Powered Health women’s squad for 2024. Fellow Italian Silvia Zanardi and young Swiss climber Linda Zanetti also move for one-year contracts.
Ragusa made a statement last year with her move in a 114km day-long breakaway at Paris-Roubaix to finish on the podium for Liv Racing TeqFind. The 26-year-old Italian has all-round talents with eight years of experience, having taken top 10 results at Branbantse Pijl, Giro dell’Emilia and Women’s Tour Down Under.
“I really like the Spring Classics and I have eyes on them. I’m an endurance rider. I do my best at the end of those classics and hilly races when the race is harder,” she said, the team interested in using her skills to position two if their leaders, French Champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot and former US national champion Ruth Edwards.
Zanardi brings a fast finish to her first season on the WorldTour, having won the European track title in the Madison in 2022 and taken the sprint classification at seven-stage Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche this season. In five seasons with Bepink, she also has two stage wins and four podiums at the l’Ardèche race, a stage win at Tour Féminin des Pyrénées and GP della Liberazionne.
She proved formidable on stage 4 at Tour Feminin l’Ardeche with the victory from a breakaway effort, which put her in the GC lead for one day.
The youngest of the trio is Zanetti at just 21, and as a climber she has proven she can transition from mountain biking to road racing. In just her second pro season in 2023, she won five races with the UAE Development Team, including Omloop van Borsele, a stage at Tour de l’Avenir and the Swiss U23 women’s road title.
Kenny Latomme, performance director for Human Powered Health, called her “a diamond in the making“.
“She is a winner who does well on many types of parcours, so it’s a year where we can explore everything with her and find her best qualities. It’s a development that I believe may go fast,” Latomme said about Zanetti.
“Silvia isn’t a pure sprinter, but a fast finisher after a difficult race. She is always racing for top tens and I’m excited to see how she adapts to the WorldTour.
“[Ragusa] will be important to bring the climbers into position during stage races. If a rider can do well in cobblestone classics, then they are a fighter who can bring your leader into position in a GC battle.”