Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) and Joscelin Lowden (Uno X Pro Cycling) have announced their respective pregnancies in January and will take maternity leave from racing in 2023 but their teams won’t replace them despite new rules allowing it.
The UCI introduced a new maternity clause this year that would allow trade teams to hire replacement riders to cover riders’ spots on the team while on maternity leave. However, both teams have told Cyclingnews that they have tentatively decided not to bring in new riders.
SD Worx and Uno-X will race with teams of 15 in 2023.
Lowden, a former World Hour Record holder, announced across social media that she and partner Dan Bigham are expecting a child in the summer of 2023. “We are getting ready for the ride of our lives,” Lowden wrote.
“We are thrilled to share the news of welcoming a BigLow to the world in July. We feel very excited and very happy, but it is also a bit exciting.”
Van den Broek-Blaak announced her pregnancy at the SD Worx team presentation held on January 17, where she joined her teammates on stage at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
“It’s strange [taking time away], but it’s for a good cause. The baby is due at the end of May, and I feel pretty good. As an athlete, I don’t feel great, but you can’t compare yourself as an athlete. For a normal woman, I feel good,” Van den Broek-Black said.
“I will try to stay involved. I was with the team in December in the US, and at the camp, and I was with them for a few days in Spain. I hope to stay involved as long as possible, but it will become harder. Once the baby arrives, I will stay out for a few months.”
The former World Champion looked set to retire from the sport in 2022, however, last year, she made the decision to reverse her impending retirement and instead renewed her contract through the end of 2024.
At that time, she said that she had held talks with her husband, family, and the team before deciding to continue, with a major factor in staying in the peloton was the freedom to try and have a child at the same time.
Van den Broek-Blaak stated that she will remain involved with the riders in a coaching and mentorship capacity during the first part of this season.
“I’m not racing this year, but I try to stay as involved as I can. Coaching is something I do already. I try to help the young riders a bit, sometimes, it’s nice for them to have extra contact, and I can share my experience,” she said.
“When you are riding a bike, it’s not…