CW Live: Olympic champion joins Women's WorldTour; Tom Pidcock tips Van Aert for Cyclo-cross Worlds; Arkéa-Samsic boss 'very interested' in Julian Alaphilippe; Deadline for 2024 Olympics tickets; LEJOG record holder back cycling after hit-and-run

A round-up of all the latest cycling news

Anna Kiesenhofer in Israel jersey

(Image credit: Israel-Premier Tech Roland)

Good morning and welcome to another Cycling Weekly live blog.

Join me, Tom Davidson, as I dig far and wide across the globe, searching for cycling news to share with you. If you spot anything yourself, or want to give your opinion on any of the stories mentioned here, feel free to tweet me @t_davidson or drop me an email at 

Latest updates:

9:24 - Intermarché-Circus-Wanty lead UCI World Ranking 

9:49 - 2024 Olympics tickets phase one closes today

10:48 - LEJOG record holder get back on bike after hit-and-run

11:09 - Gent-Wevelgem confirms participation of all 15 Women's WorldTour teams

11:22 - Olympic champion Anna Kiesenhofer joins Israel-Premier Tech Roland

11:57 - Tom Pidcock tips Wout van Aert for fourth cyclo-cross world title

13:16 - Arkea-Samsic boss "very interested" in signing Julian Alaphilippe 

14:05 - Lizzie Deignan to return to racing at La Vuelta Femenina in May

14:22 - Jonathan Milan sprints to victory in Saudi Arabia 

15:33 - German gravel route updated after 'access issues' 

15:53 - Cycling Ireland to cut back U23 programme


Intermarché-Circus-Wanty lead UCI World Ranking

For the first time in the team's history, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty are at the top of the UCI's World Ranking. 

Yes, it's still only January, but the team have had an excellent start to their 2023 campaign, with wins for Rui Costa and Kobe Goossens in Mallorca, Spain. 

"We never though that we would ever reach such a milestone. It's a great reward for all involved since 1974," the team wrote on Twitter. 

"We must remain humble & pursue our project while enjoying this historic moment."

Intermarché's next race will be the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, which starts tomorrow in Orihuela, Spain. 

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Last chance to apply for Olympics tickets

Jack Carlin

(Image credit: Getty)

Today, 31 January, marks the last chance to apply for the first phase of tickets for the Paris Olympics in 2024. 

Anyone hoping to attend the Games should enter the draw on the official ticketing website, which has been open for the past two months. 

This initial draw is for 'made-to-measure packs' of tickets, where spectators can pick and buy seats for three different events. The draw for single tickets will open in May 2023. 

At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Great Britain topped the cycling medal table, picking up six gold medals, four silvers and two bronzes. Standout performances included Tom Pidcock's vicory in the mountain biking, as well as Charlotte Worthington's and Beth Shriever's surprise BMX triumphs. 

The road races were won by Ecuador's Richard Carapaz and Austria's Anna Kiesenhofer, who outfoxed the peloton and soloed to victory

LEJOG record holder back on her bike after hit-and-run

LeJog record

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Land's End to John o' Groats record holder Christina Mackenzie is back training on her bike for the first time since suffering a broken pelvis in a hit-and-run in September. 

The 45-year-old told BBC Radio Scotland that getting back on out on the roads was "really quite daunting" following the collision. 

"I just felt really twitchy," she said, "looking over my shoulders the whole time." 

Last year, Mackenzie was struck by a motorist in a Ford Ranger-type SUV, who did not stop. Police are still looking for the driver responsible. 

The ultra-cyclist described the months after the incident as being "horrific", adding that she had "no mobility whatsoever." Since September, she has had to learn how to walk again. 

In July last year, MacKenzie became the first rider to beat Lynne Biddulph's 20-year-old LeJoG record, setting a new mark of 51 hours, 5 minutes and 27 seconds. She then went on to become the Scottish 100-mile time trial champion in August, completing the feat in just under 4 hours and 20 minutes. 

All 15 Women's WorldTour teams confirmed for Gent-Wevelgem

Organisers of the Belgian one-day classic Gent-Wevelgem have confirmed that all 15 Women's WorldTour teams will compete in the 2023 edition of the race. 

There will also be nine Continental teams present, including AG Insurance - Soudal Quick-Step, Lifeplus Wahoo and Cofidis. 

Last year, Trek-Segafredo's Elisa Balsamo won Gent-Wevelgem, claiming her fifth victory since winning the rainbow bands six months prior. The former world champion is down to compete again at this year's race, scheduled for 26 March. 

Yesterday, it was announced that two WorldTour teams - Jumbo-Visma and EF Education-Tibco-SVB - would skip the inaugural UAE Women's Tour, which opens in Dubai next Thursday.

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Olympic champion signs for Israel-Premier Tech Roland

Anna Kiesenhofer in Israel jersey

(Image credit: Israel-Premier Tech Roland)

Olympic road race champion Anna Kiesenhofer has joined women's WorldTour outfit Israel-Premier Tech Roland for the 2023 season. 

The Austrian has been without a professional team since 2017, racing only as a guest for Soltec Team at the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta last year. 

“I am very happy to join Israel – Premier Tech Roland," Kisenhofer said in a press statement shared today. "The environment and equipment are ideal for me to perform at my best in some of the most important races of the WWT calendar."

The 31-year-old added that her main target this year will be the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, alongside other "hard stage races". 

Team manager Ruben Contreras said it was an "honour" to welcome the Olympic champion to the team. "Anna is extremely talented and races courageously as we saw with her Tokyo win," he said. "She will be a great addition to the team and help us as we continue our development in the Women’s WorldTour."

Tom Pidcock tips Wout van Aert for fourth Cyclo-cross world title

Wout van Aert at Mol cyclo-cross

(Image credit: Getty)

Current cyclo-cross world champion Tom Pidcock has tipped Wout van Aert to take his crown this weekend, saying the Belgian has the best "pure power". 

Van Aert, who last won the Cyclo-cross World Championships in 2018, will go up against his long-standing rival Mathieu van der Poel in Hoogerheide, Netherlands this Sunday. 

Asked by Het Nieuwsblad who he expects to come out on top, Pidcock said "Wout".

The Brit then caveated his response, adding: "Wout is the best in terms of pure power, but in the end the title is decided after one hour of cross. It is not just about strength, but also about the tactics set out to become world champion.”

Van der Poel's last cyclo-cross outing was at Sunday's World Cup event in Besançon, France, where he won by almost a minute ahead of Laurens Sweeck. After the race the Dutchman looked ahead to Worlds, explaining that his chances are "fifty-fifty" and that him and Van Aert are "evenly matched". 

Pidcock will not defend his title in Hoogerheide, instead opting to focus on his road season with an ambition to perform well at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. 

Arkéa-Samsic boss says he is 'very interested' in Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Arkéa-Samsic boss Emanuel Hubert has said that his team are "very interested" in potentially signing Julian Alaphilippe from Soudal Quick-Step in the future.

Speaking to Eurosport, Hubert said he would certainly explore the option of signing Alaphilippe if he were to become available in the coming months.

"Could I take an option on Julian [Alaphilippe] if he were released? Why not, after he is under contract until 2024. I am very interested in Julian because on the one hand, he is a very, very likeable boy. On top of that, he would be at home here. He is someone who is very endearing," Hubert said.

"He is also double world champion and has worn the yellow jersey several times at the Tour de France in a memorable and remarkable way. We have spoken in the past but he was not necessarily wanting to return to a French team at that time," he added.

Alaphilippe was recently criticised by Soudal Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere, who explained he wants to see improvements in the Frenchman in 2023. 

Lizzie Deignan to return to racing at the Vuelta

Former world champion and Paris-Roubaix winner Lizzie Deignan plans on returning to racing at La Vuelta Femenina this May, following the birth of her second child last September. 

In a blog post shared on her team Trek-Segafredo's website, Deignan said she had been gradually increasing her training load, and is currently riding around 20 hours per week. 

"If everything goes to plan, my first race will be the Vuelta," she said. "I figured why not jump back in at the deep end?"

Her reasoning is that a stage race will help her quickly clock up racing miles, much more so than doing a series of one-day events. 

This year's Vuelta Femenina marks a rebrand of the former Ceratizit Challenge and will see the race expand from five stages to seven.  

Deignan added: "I’ve planned a lot of race days between my comeback and the Tour de France Femmes because I’m a rider who likes to have lots of racing in the legs to reach my best condition.

"The Tour only finishes a week before the World Champs in Glasgow so I would love to be hitting my peak form at that time."

Jonathan Milan wins stage two of the Saudi Tour

Jonathan Milan

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Over in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain-Victorious rider Jonathan Milan has just pipped Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla) to the win on stage two of the Saudi Tour

The Dutchman looked like he might take back-to-back victories in his team's "home race", but a rapid acceleration from Milan saw him beaten to the line. 

The stage, which ran through a backdrop of desert dunes, was characterised by strong winds, which split the peloton at parts and whipped sand across the roads. 

Groenewegen will continue to wear the leader's jersey on tomorrow's stage three, with Milan trailing at six seconds. Cofidis's Max Walscheid is in third, 12 seconds off the lead. 

German bike-packing route updated after 'access issues' 

Ultra-distance cycling website has updated its 1,000-mile Trans Germany route, after some sections were deemed unrideable. 

In a statement shared this afternoon, the site said it has now removed "several critical passages that posed an issue regarding legality" and that the off-road tracks are now "fully rideable". Until recently, the route had been closed since 2021.

The Trans Germany ride is said to follow rolling gravel roads and "quite a few technical trails" through the German countryside. According to the GPS file, the entire route is 1,024 miles long with 55,250 feet (16,840m) of elevation, which is mostly ticket off in the first 700 miles. 

For more information, visit Bikepacking's website

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Cycling Ireland to cut back U23 programme, including Tour de l'Avenir

Archie Ryan doing a time trial

(Image credit: Getty)

According to cycling news website Stickybottle, Cycling Ireland is reducing the number of races the Irish U23 road team will compete in this season to just three events. 

The three races will be Rás Tailteann, the European Champions and the World Championships, meaning the Tour de l'Avenir will be cut from the schedule. At the French race last year, Jumbo-Visma development rider Archie Ryan finished fourth, and was likely to have been among the favourites for this year's edition. 

The reduced schedule, Stickybottle says, is due to financial pressures faced by Cycling Ireland. The governing body is said to have spent around €1 million on consultants' and lawyers' fees over the past few years due to controversies within the organisation. 

Last September, Cycling Ireland chose not to send a team to the Road World Championships, meaning there was no Irish representation in the elite events for the first time since 1999. Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly described the decision as "disappointing" at the time. 

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