Alé BTC Ljubljana 6/10
It took Alé BTC Ljubljana until late May to open their account for 2021, but after that the wins came regularly, totalling fifteen by the end of the year (if you include the six National Championship titles). Marta Bastianelli, Mavi Garcia and Eugenia Bujak all made significant contributions, but European champion and Olympic silver medallist Marlen Reusser was the star, and her presence will be sorely missed as she departs for SD Worx.
The departure of Annemiek van Vleuten has left a huge void at BikeExchange, and without her the team managed just seven wins, their lowest total since starting out in 2012. Grace Brown stepped up to become the team’s new star, and enjoyed some good results during the spring, but a premature end to her season following a crash at the Giro Rosa left the team in dire straits.
From the lingering injury problems that limited new star signing Chloe Dygert to just one appearance for the team all season, to Kasia Niewiadoma’s persistent habit of just missing out on wins, this was a year characterised by frustration for Canyon-SRAM. There were noteworthy successes, such as Elise Chaby’s stage win and runner-up finish at the Tour de Suisse and Lisa Klein’s dominant performance to win the Baloise Ladies Tour, but this team has the talent to expect more.
With new signing Lizzie Banks missing virtually the whole season after suffering concussion at Strade Bianche, and Kirsten Wild no longer able to keep up with the new generation in her last season on the road before retiring, Ceratizit-WNT were overly-reliant on Lisa Brennauer for success. The German had a decent season (especially on the cobbles, with top four finishes at the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix), but can’t be expected to carry the whole team.
Team DSM 8/10
Following two lean years, DSM were once again prolific in 2021, amassing a total of eighteen wins. That was almost exclusively down to Lorena Wiebes, who showed why the team went to such lengths to sign her last summer by accounting for over two-thirds of their tally, including Ronde van Drenthe and stages at the Giro Rosa and The Women’s Tour.
FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 5/10
On one hand, consistently high-placings in the major races from Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, and breakthrough seasons from the talented youthful contingent of Marta Cavalli, Evita Muzic and Clara Copponi saw FDJ finish fourth in the World Tour rankings; but on the other hand, for all their consistency they only managed a total of two wins, lower than any other team in the World Tour.
The enduring quality of Marianne Vos helped this newly formed team immediately acclimate to the highest level, opening their account with major classics wins at Gent-Wevelgem, and Amstel Gold, and later adding stage wins at Giro Rosa and the Sirmac Ladies Tour. Anna Henderson and Riejanne Markus also helped the team didn’t become too dependent on their Dutch star.
Liv Racing 5/10
Lotte Kopecky did a decent job of the unenviable task of replacing Marianne Vos, being one of the stars of the spring classics, and picking up several more wins in the following months. The team were as dependent on her as they were formerly on their departed Dutch superstar, although Alison Jackson and Soraya Paladin also picked up some decent results.
As hoped, the signing of Annemiek van Vleuten catapulted Movistar to the very top of the sport. They went from finishing 14th in last year’s WorldTour rankings last year to third this year, mostly thanks to the Dutchwoman (whose halt of victories included classics like the Tour of Flanders and San Sebastian, and overall stage race triumphs at the Tour of Norway and Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta), but with significant contributions also coming from new sprinting star Emma Norsgaard and American Leah Thomas.
SD Worx 10/10
Another superb year saw SD Worx register a whopping 36 wins (their highest total since 2016), and return to the top of the World Tour rankings having placed behind Trek-Segafredo last year. The simultaneous retirements of Anna van der Breggen, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and Jolien d’Hoore signal an end of an era for the team, but the fact that three of their biggest wins (Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Course and The Women’s Tour) came courtesy of new young star Demi Vollering suggests the team will still be in rude health.
Competing in their third season, Trek-Segafredo continued to go from strength to strength, completing their most prolific season yet with a total of 20 wins. Lizzie Deignan’s historic success at the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes was the highlight, while other World Tour wins came courtesy of Elisa Longo Borghini at Trofeo Alfredo Binda and GP de Plouay, and the likes of Chloe Hosking, Ruth Winder and Lucinda Brand also provided enviable strength-in-depth.
Valcar-Travel & Service 6 / 10
Elisa Balsamo stepped up to a whole new level in the final months of this season, and was crowned world champion riding for Italy at the road race in Flanders.
Valcar-Travel & Service won’t enjoy the perks of having their name plastered on the rainbow stripes, however, as Balsamo follows Marta Cavalli by leaving the team, continuing the second-tier team’s problem of holding onto their star riders.