Cycling News

There’s one obvious element missing from Team Red Bull-Bora Hansgrohe announcement

02-04-2023 Tour Des Flandres Women; 2023, Sd - Worx; 2023, Trek - Segafredo Women; Vollering, Demi; Longo Borghini, Elisa; Oudenaarde;

The world of pro cycling is all hearts aflutter over the now-confirmed prospect of Red Bull moving into road racing. Or, more specifically, men’s road racing. There’s good reason to be excited. The energy drink company has a decades-long history of moving into new sports and quickly being fiercely competitive with established teams. With Red Bull joining forces with Bora Hansgrohe, already a major player in pro men’s cycling, many expect the new team to rise up and challenge Visma/Lease-a-Bike’s dominance.

But there is one obvious element being overlooked in the official confirmation of the Red Bull-Bora Hansgrohe team.

Along with confirming co-title sponsorship of Red Bull and Bora Hansgrohe, today’s announcement included news of a new under-23 squad for RB-BH. That will compliment the team’s existing U19 program. When it starts in 2025, it will give RB-BH, hopefully, a solid talent development pipeline to rival VLAB’s.

There’s one thing Visma/Lease-a-Bike has that, apparently, Red Bull and Borah Hansgrohe have no interest in. A women’s squad.

Demi Vollering at Tour of Flanders in 2023

A glaring oversight

The lack of any women’s program is a glaring oversight for what will be one of the most high-profile and well funded teams on the World Tour. It is also a huge missed opportunity for the brand.

Women’s cycling is, to be clear, on the rise. With improved broadcast coverage, there are growing legions of fans and easy publicity among those thrilled they finally have an easy, or easier way to follow the sport. The top stars, like Demi Vollering, are signing contracts with global brands like Nike. Despite all this, even Vollering’s salary, surely among the highest in the women’s peloton, would be a bargain compared to adding a comparable athlete on the men’s side to join Primoz Roglic.

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Bora – Hansgrohe surely paid a hefty premium to bring on Grand Tour contender Primoz Roglic. Photo: Sirotti

Red Bull-Bora Hansgrohe won’t be alone among top World Tour teams that refuse to meaningfully engage in the women’s side of the sport. INEOS has only signed Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. That worked while she was focused on mountain biking. But, as GCN pointed out her recently stated desire to return to the road will put pressure on the powerhouse team to support her, or let her go.

Entering the sport as an exception, but not exceptional

Both squads are increasingly the exception, too. As mentioned, Visma/Lease-a-Bike includes a top…

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