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Rally Cycling lands young talent Wessel Krul – Rally Cycling


Rally Cycling has signed promising talent Wessel Krul to its ranks for the 2022 and 2023 cycling seasons. The 21-year-old from Enkhuizen in the Netherlands joins from SEG Racing Academy, and will become the second Dutch rider on the roster alongside compatriot Arvid de Kleijn.

Krul calls joining a ProTeam “a dream come true.” The Dutchman, who has proved himself as a powerful sprinter and time trialist at under-23 level, will be a crucial part of the 2022 sprint train. 

“I had a really good feeling when talking to Jonas [Carney] about the team and I’m looking forward to experiencing the American approach to racing,” said Krul. “Jonas believed that I was going to be a good addition to the lead-out train, so that was something that really attracted me. He has a plan and I really like it.”

Like other powerful bunch sprinters such as Marcel Kittel, Krul started off in the sport as a talented time trialist at junior levels. In 2021 however, he showed his qualities in bunch sprints where he finished second twice and won the points classification at Course de la Paix U23, won a bunch sprint in the Flanders Tomorrow Tour and placed seventh in a quality field at Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen.

Krul wins stage 2 of the Flanders Tomorrow Tour

“I really want to focus more on the sprints and learn from Arvid,” Krul added. “I can gain a lot of knowledge from the experienced riders about not just lead-outs and sprints but also how you have to live as a pro and how you have to approach racing.” 

Performance director Jonas Carney is excited at what Krul’s acquisition means for the team’s prospects next season.

“Wessel is a very powerful young rider and with this signing it’s clear that the team will mean business in bunch sprints,” Carney said. “As a young rider, Wessel has the potential to excel in many different areas, so it is exciting to have such a talent join the team.”

The understanding between sprinter and lead-out rider, when done right, is almost symbiotic, something Krul and de Kleijn are keen to develop. “It’s a good sign when you have a one-hour phone call,” Krul said on speaking to de Kleijn. “I can see Rally Cycling is a really good place to develop myself as a rider and also be able to help my other teammates.”

The team is delighted to be adding Krul to the line-up for 2022. Look out for our next set of rider announcements next week. 

— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com

Rally Cycling bolsters Classics squad with Mieke Kröger and Evy Kuijpers – Rally Cycling


Rally Cycling has reunited ex-teammates Mieke Kröger and Evy Kuijpers by signing the duo to its women’s team for 2022. They had previously raced with each other on Futurumshop.nl Zannata in 2014 and will strengthen the team’s Classics roster. 

The newcomers spoke about the opportunities they hope to get next season and how their experiences racing in Europe will benefit Rally Cycling as the team applies for a Women’s WorldTour license.

Golden rainbows 

Olympic gold medalist Kröger, from Bielefield in Germany, is a time-trial specialist who excels over Classics-style terrain and at short stage races. She joins from Team Coop – Hitec Products on a one-year contract. 

Kröger describes herself as a “proper diesel,” who enjoys it when the going gets tough.

“I’m looking forward to it,” the 28-year-old said. “Racing under American management is something I’ve never experienced so I’m really excited.”

Kröger had an incredibly successful 2021, winning team pursuit gold at Tokyo 2020 and then a rainbow jersey as part of the German Mixed Relay TTT squad in Flanders. She has also found success at shorter stage races, as shown by her overall victory at the Lotto Belgium Tour in 2019 and second place in GC at this year’s Baloise Ladies Tour.

“I’m looking forward to Roubaix again as I enjoy the Classics when it’s bad weather,” Kröger explains. “My motor is really running during the last part of the season though, so I’m also looking forward to some smaller stage races where I perform well because of my time-trialling.”

Having raced professionally since 2013, the German arrives with a wealth of experience and as well as performing on the bike, hopes to be a good mentor to the younger riders on the team. 

Lily Williams competed in the same event as Kröger at Tokyo 2020, winning a bronze medal. The American will renew her contract and join her one-time Olympic rival on the team next year. 

The science of racing 

Rally Cycling also welcomes Classics rider Kuijpers from Liv Racing for the 2022 season. The change is the start of “a new adventure” for the 26-year-old from the Netherlands who is looking forward to having the freedom to work for both herself and the team. 

“I’m really looking forward to the Classics and the first edition of Tour de France Femmes,” Kuijpers said. “Rally Cycling is a team with a lot of opportunities to work with young riders and I hope I can share my WorldTour racing experience.”

Kuijpers, who graduated with a degree in sports science last year, got her start in cyclocross before turning professional in 2014. Handling, power, and the ability to race on different surfaces are all skills crucial for racing the classics that Kuijpers developed by racing off-road.

“I’m a rider that really likes bad circumstances, like the cold and wind,” said Kaijpers. “I’m more of a Classics rider but I also like stage races. I always have a good sprint from a small group and can do a lead-out too,” she added.

Not many riders would describe the Classics as feeling “comfortable,” which shows why Kuijpers will be a valuable asset come spring. Another rider who is comfortable in muddy conditions is of course Katie Clouse. Like Williams, she too will join the new signings on the team next season. 

Leading from the front

“Both Evy and Mieke bring real depth and experience to the team for our early objectives,” said women’s team director Andrew Bajadali. “They are both strong rouleur type riders with proven abilities riding against the clock and in Classic-type races where wind and the elements play a significant factor.” 

“We’re also excited by the prospect of adding both of them to drive our leadout efforts when a sprint situation is necessary,” added Bajadali. “Their depth of experience, ability to communicate and physical strength will be invaluable, and will have a huge impact for the entire team, especially our younger riders.” 

The team is delighted to be welcoming Kröger and Kuijpers and renewing with Clouse and Williams for 2022. Look out for more rider announcements over the coming weeks. 

— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com

Kristian Aasvold joins Rally Cycling – Rally Cycling


Rally Cycling has signed the talented Norwegian Kristian Aasvold for the 2022 season. The 26-year-old from Snåsa who joins from Team Coop is Rally Cycling’s first Scandinavian rider and the third non-North American to race for the men’s team.

Aasvold describes himself as a puncheur who is not afraid of the hardest races, favouring days with a succession of small climbs that end in a reduced bunch sprint. The Norwegian has had a year at ProTeam level before but makes the step back up the ranks following a successful 2021. 

“It’s really exciting,” Aasvold said about joining the team. “Rally Cycling is really professional so it’s a great opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to meeting the guys and starting to work together to try and deliver as good a season as possible.”

2021 was Aasvold’s most successful year to date and he excelled in both the Arctic Race of Norway and the Tour of Norway in August, two short stage races where he finished fifth and sixth overall respectively. 

“You can always train to become better, but you need those hard races as well. Hopefully, I can take some big steps next year and get some results for the team,” Aasvold said.

The team’s long-time performance director Jonas Carney knows how to put a roster together.

“Kristian had a really strong back-end to the season and we were impressed by his strength,” said Carney. “We feel he has a lot of potential and we were looking for a punchy rider like him to strengthen the squad.”

Aasvold has a wealth of experience from his time on Scandinavian teams and previously raced on the Riwal Securitas Cycling Team with Arvid de Kleijn in 2020. The Dutch sprinter spoke to his returning teammate prior to his big move to a North American outfit.

“He [de Kleijn] said a lot of positive things and of course it matters that people you know well say that it’s a good team,” Aasvold explained. “I also spoke with Jonas about it, and again got the sense it’s a good environment – which is important for me.”

The team looks forward to having Aasvold bolster its ranks for the 2022 season. Keep an eye out for more rider announcements over the coming weeks. 

— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com

Steinhauser signs with team – EF Pro Cycling

Steinhauser realizes that his full schedule may not have allowed him to reach his full potential yet but, he says, “I’m proud that I could achieve so many goals this year even though I’m working half the day and training half the day and still be able to ride at the front of a race.”

 

Vaughters agrees, saying, “Don’t underestimate him. I think maybe his talent will be a little bit slow in surfacing because of the fact that he’s still working on being a student but make no mistake. I think he ends up being on a slower trajectory but I think he ends up being one of the top stage racers in the world.”

 

In some ways, coming to EF will make racing and training easier for Steinhauser. “Everything will be way more professional and organized than it is at the Continental level. Also, I never really thought about things like nutrition. I’ve just been riding on feeling. I think I can learn a lot in this area.”

 

Learning is important to the young German. He worked hard in school to become fluent in English, telling his teachers, “The only thing I really needed in school was English. Math, I didn’t need that complicated stuff but English I had to use so it made sense for me to learn.” 

 

Continuing to learn is among his main goals for the 2022 season. “I’m very excited to ride beside my teammates and learn from them. I want to make as few mistakes as possible. Even in the moments when things aren’t going well, I still see the good and find opportunities to learn. I want to improve from year to year, from season to season, but it’s definitely a goal to win races.”

 

This deep appreciation for learning and reflection is part of the reason why Steinhauser wanted to come to EF. “The name EF says it all: Education First.”

 

Another reason why he signed for the pink team? “This team is about innovation. They are not working with old technology and gear. Instead, they’re racing gravel and being open-minded. I don’t feel like you can compare them to ‘normal’ teams. With EF, I feel like I have a new point of view of cycling.”

 

We love your perspective, Georg, and we can’t wait for next season.

 

— Mary Lee Mahony to www.efprocycling.com

Rally Cycling signs young talents Henrietta Christie and Barbara Malcotti – Rally Cycling


Rally Cycling has signed young climbing talents Henrietta Christie and Barbara Malcotti to its women’s team for 2022 and 2023. The new additions are the first names to be announced for next season’s roster.

Both newcomers spoke about signing for Rally Cycling and their aspirations for the coming years. With the team applying for a Women’s WorldTour license, they will have plenty of opportunities. 

Pair of Kiwis 

Christie, from Christchurch, New Zealand, is the current under-23 national time trial champion and joins from the Bepink squad.

“I’m really excited about getting to meet everyone next year,” Christie said. “Rally Cycling can help me progress with my career, and I can’t wait to build some strong foundations within the team.”

The 19-year-old recently competed in both the women’s elite World Championship road race in Flanders, and the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes, arguably the two most gruelling weekends of racing this season. The jump up did not faze the talented young climber though.

“I love pushing myself to the limit,” she said. “My aspirations are to get stronger every day and aim to get on a UCI Women’s WorldTour podium next year.”

Christie in the world-famous Vélodrome André-Pétrieux at the end of Paris-Roubaix Femmes

Christie describes herself as a hardworking, driven and team-focused rider who enjoys competing in stage races, as showcased by her young rider classification victory at the Tour Cycliste Féminin in September.

“It’s going to be so cool to be part of a team that is so close-knit and is like a family.”

Returning for 2022 will be a fellow New Zealander whom Christie looks up to. Olivia Ray, the current national criterium champion, will renew her position on the team for next season and the duo will bring a unique Kiwi vibe to proceedings. 

Italian jersey hunter

Rally Cycling is also excited to welcome young climber Barbara Malcotti, who will be the team’s first-ever Italian rider. 

The 22-year-old from Tione di Trento (think mountains) has raced with the Italian team Valcar – Travel & Service since 2019 and is looking forward to joining an international program. 

“I’m excited to be racing with girls from around the world,” Malcotti said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to improve my skills and be a good rider for the team.”

Like Christie, Malcotti is a climber who thrives in the mountains. Her fourth place in the young rider standings at the 2021 Giro d’Italia Donne, and strong top-10 finishes in the recent Italian fall classics, the Giro dell’Emilia (8th) and Tre Valli Varesine (4th), showcase her strengths going uphill. 

“I look up to Annemiek van Vleuten, Marianne Vos and Elisa Longo Borghini because I like their method of racing. They stay in the bunch, get in the breakaway, and they attack, and I think a rider must do all of these things.”

Malcotti also hopes to figure in the Ardennes Classics and aspires to follow in the wheel tracks of her compatriot and current teammate, new world champion Elisa Balsamo. 

A platform for progression 

“We saw the promise and progression that they have shown already at a young age,” said women’s team director Joanne Kiesanowski. “Henrietta showed a lot of progression already after only a few months in Europe and Barbara has kept improving from her junior years and is ready to move to a World Tour team after racing at a very high level in the elites.”

“They both have shown strength in stage racing and have the abilities to be GC contenders in the future,” Kiesanowski added. “We’re excited to work with them and help them develop over the next two seasons.” 

The team looks forward to welcoming Christie and Malcotti to the line-up for the next two years and is thrilled to have Ray returning. We’re not done yet, stay tuned for more rider announcements over the coming weeks.

— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com

Guy Niv’s favorite cycling loops (!) in Israel – #VisitIsrael

With #VisitIsrael and Hammerhead, Israel Start-Up Nation shares the favorite loops of all Israeli riders in our two teams.

In volume 11 we feature Guy Niv. It is a special edition, as he could not choose between the three best loops he ever did!

What if you cannot choose your favorite route? Then you choose three!

Guy Niv, absolutely an ambassador for Israel, lives and trains in Dan, a kibbutz in the Upper Galilee region of Israel. Showing you the best routes in Israel is an easy task for him. Or a difficult one, if you look at it from a different perspective: he couldn’t choose a favorite!

Luckily for us, he selected routes for all levels:

“The first route I recommend riding is a medium one and it suits all kinds of riders. It brings you through the best landscapes in the area, starting with riding in the Hula Valley towards Kibbutz Gonen. That’s a warm-up for the Golan Heights. From there, you climb nearly twelve kilometers at an average gradient of 6%. The top of this climb, at Wasset Junction, there is a great place for a quick stop. I recommend having a look in the ‘spice shop’ there. After the stop, you can enjoy riding on the beautiful Golan, direction north, until the Druze village of Majdal Shams. From there, it is a downhill, back to the valley.”

Niv’s medium loop: https://www.strava.com/activities/3383983771

The second loop Niv recommends is one for the coffee. “It is a small loop in the Hula Valley,” he says. “There is a short hill that takes you into the orange grove roads. You will feel like you are riding in Tuscany for a moment. There is a small loop in the valley that I usually do before going back home. There are a few coffee stops along the way, but my favorite is definitely ‘Lehemke’.”

Niv’s coffee loop: https://www.strava.com/activities/3378706169

And a ride towards Mount Hermon is a must-do when visiting Israel, according to Niv. “Obviously you don’t have to do it three times like I did in my Strava activity – that was an extreme workout – but if you want to feel like you’re riding in the Alps, I highly recommend this loop. Mount Hermon is a long and beautiful climb all the way to the highest point in Israel. It has amazing views, all the way up. Don’t miss out on the typical local candy called ‘knafeh’ in the village of Majdal Shams!”

Niv’s Mount Hermon loop: https://www.strava.com/activities/3498036890

#Hammerhead #VisitIsrael #RideForMore

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com

Doebel-Hickok reigns supreme in Sea Otter road race – Rally Cycling

Krista Doebel-Hickok made it two-for-two for Rally Cycling at the Sea Otter Classic, taking victory in Friday’s road race. The American used the uphill finish to her advantage and launched a powerful uphill sprint to beat Emma Langley (Team TIBCO – SVB) to the line. Sara Poidevin rounded out the podium in third place. 

“I’m really delighted,” said Doebel-Hickok. “I don’t often give myself the chance at the win but I raced smart and strong. This race is special to me because it was one of the first big races that I did before turning pro in 2013.”

The women competed on a challenging 54-mile route that included laps around Fort Old National Monument before finishing on the climb of Barloy Canyon Road, a stone’s throw from Thursday’s circuit which was won by Emma White. The route proved to be the perfect parcours for Rally Cycling’s strong team.

We wanted a really hard race, so we attacked a lot,” added Doebel-Hickok. “In the end, it was a group of four heading into the final climb. Sara rode hard into the headwind and then I attacked off Langley’s wheel. I could feel her trying to pass, but I was able to hold it.”

The Sea Otter Classic was Doebel-Hickok’s first race back since fracturing her radius bone during stage 5 of the Giro Donne in July.

It felt like I never left,” said Doebel-Hickok. “Injuries are just part of the sport, and I’ve shown that I can come off them with good form.”

The team’s final race of the season will be the Into the Lion’s Den criterium in Sacramento on October 30. The event has a total prize purse of $100,000 and will be an exciting way to close out 2021.

Sea Otter road race results
1 DOEBEL-HICKOK Kristabel – Rally Cycling 2:41:31
2 LANGLEY Emma – Team TIBCO – SVB ”
3 POIDEVIN Sara – Rally Cycling 0:20
4 WARD Maddy – Team TIBCO – SVB 1:23
5 FRANZ Heidi – Rally Cycling 1:36
6 WHITE Emma – Rally Cycling 2:22
7 WHEELER Jennifer – Seattle 5:36
8 POTTER Rebekah – Sisterhood of Cycling 6:10
9 RAYNOLDS Matilda – Port Melbourne 7:39
10 O’MARA Alana – Palo Alto 17:03

— Tom Soladay to rallycycling.com

White wins Sea Otter circuit race in podium lockout – Rally Cycling


Emma White sprinted to an impressive victory on the opening day of the Sea Otter Classic. The Olympic bronze medalist took the win in the circuit race ahead of teammates Heidi Franz and Kristabel Doebel-Hickok to ensure it was an all Rally Cycling podium.

The result was a perfect opening for what promises to be two days of action-packed racing for the women in Monterey. 

Sweeping the podium and celebrating with teammates is such a special feeling,” White said from Laguna Seca Raceway. “The entire team did everything they could to make it fast and utilize their strengths. I’m so proud of everyone’s efforts.”

Joining White, Franz and Doebel-Hickok in the front group were Sara Poidevin and Holly Breck. Poidevin broke away with a rival and stayed clear until the final lap where White followed a counter-attack the final time up the climb. The 24-year-old then launched her sprint early and battled a strong headwind to finish two seconds ahead of the chasers.

In the end, the assistance from her teammates proved invaluable to White. 

“Being surrounded by my teammates in the front group is such a reassuring feeling. I was confident in what we would be able to accomplish.”

The Laguna Seca Raceway is famous for its corkscrew bend and the iconic corner featured heavily in today’s course. 

This is one of the most fun courses I’ve raced on. The climb on the backside was challenging, and the corkscrew descent was fast, technical and fun,” White said.

White hadn’t raced since the Joe Martin Stage Race in late August but still had plenty of gas in the tank for the late-season race.

“I’m happy to be back with the team after some time away. My legs were a bit shocked to feel that kind of pain again, but they quickly warmed up to it. It always feels good to be back with Rally Cycling.”

The team is back in action on Friday to take on a hilly road race course. You can find out more in our Sea Otter Classic preview

Sea Otter Classic circuit race results
1 WHITE Emma – Rally Cycling 48:14
2 FRANZ Heidi – Rally Cycling 0:02
3 DOEBEL-HICKOK Kristabel – Rally Cycling ”
4 LANGLEY Emma – Team TIBCO – SVB ”
5 WILSON Moriah – San Francisco 0:03
6 POIDEVIN Sara – Rally Cycling 0:26
7 WARD Maddy – Team TIBCO – SVB 0:43
8 BRECK Holly – Rally Cycling 2:43
9 RAYNOLDS Matilda – Port Melbourne ” 
10 POTTER Rebekah – Sisterhood of Cycling 3:39

— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com

Bassett climbs and sprints to Paris-Bourges podium – Rally Cycling

Stephen Bassett lit up the breakaway at Paris-Bourges on Thursday by winning both the sprints and KOM classification. The 26-year-old launched the early breakaway and went on to score points at all but one of the day’s intermediate sprints and climbs. 

“I made sure to check my efforts early in the race in order to have the acceleration needed to get the classifications,” Bassett said afterward. “I was able to pretty easily take the sprint points but the KOM was a lot trickier as I was second over the first one but Tony Gallopin (AG2R Citroën Team) upped the pace and dropped the leader so I was able to soak up the final few points.”

At the finish, Bassett heaped praise on his Felt AR and Pactimo kit.

“I was also really happy with my kit as there were so many sections where I could hunker down and coast while I could see the guys in front of me had to keep on the pedals for longer.”

Bassett has been active in breakaways and the amount of racing he has done in Europe has left him in good stead. 

“I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress this season in adapting to life and racing in Europe,” he said. “I’ve taken my chances in breakaways and had  good results so I’m happy.” 

Rally Cycling animated much of the racing before the final bunch sprint that was won by Jordi Meeus (BORA – hansgrohe). Pier-André Coté was the team’s top finisher in 24th place. 

After winning the KOM prize at the Eurométropole Tour, Robin Carpenter said that the team wanted to improve on their performance at Paris-Bourges from 2019. Keen to bury the demons of two years ago, the Philadelphia rider went for a daring breakaway with Ryan Mullen (Trek – Segafredo) inside the final 10km before being caught by the charging peloton. 

Kyle Murphy also launched an attack late on, but the flat run-in proved difficult terrain to open a gap up. Although their bids for glory didn’t work out, they were examples of how Rally Cycling riders race with their hearts on their sleeves. 

The men’s team will spend the next week in France as they prepare for the final race of the season at the Grand Prix du Morbihan on October 16.  

— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com

Rally Cycling signs high-flying Gage Hecht – Rally Cycling


Rally Cycling has signed American Gage Hecht as the first new rider for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The 23-year-old from Parker, Colorado signs from the US-based Aevolo team. 

The step up to the ProTeam ranks marks the realization of a dream for the multi-talented rider who describes himself as a lover of Classics-style races who isn’t afraid to do his turn for the good of the team.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to race in Europe,” said Hecht. “The team is a really cool platform to make that jump and I’ve heard amazing things about Jonas [Carney] and the rest of the staff about how they treat the riders. I’m really excited to be working with them.” 

Hecht has been racing on the road with Aevolo since 2017 and has displayed his talents in the biggest stateside races. In 2018, at just 20 years of age, he beat WorldTour riders in the opening stage of the Colorado Classic and in 2021 took victory in the time trial at the Joe Martin Stage Race and finished second overall. 

“We’ve been talking for a few years now, and we feel the timing is right as he is ready to commit fully to the road,” said performance director Jonas Carney“Gage is one of the best young riders coming out of North America right now and we feel he has a ton of potential.”

The Coloradan is the current US national cyclocross champion, a discipline he has entertained many fans by competing in. Like so many athletes in recent years who have made the successful transition from mud to asphalt, Hecht believes the transferable skills have left him in good stead.  

“Cyclocross gives you a different type of strength,” he says. “It’s not so much a sprinter’s power, but this ability to just do repeated hard efforts out of the corners without burying yourself. That skill is going to help me a lot as I transition to a full European calendar with the team.”

Away from cycling, Hecht is an aviation enthusiast who holds a private pilot’s license and is currently completing a degree in aviation aerospace science. He also plays the ukulele, but not at the same time.

The team looks forward to welcoming Hecht to its ranks for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. Stay tuned as more roster announcements are expected over the coming weeks.

— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com