Trek-Segafredo is to launch a women’s team for 2019, Cycling Weekly has learned. The team will join the peloton with some big names, which will include Britain’s former world champion Lizzie Deignan.
A source close to the deal confirmed that Deignan would join the squad in 2019, with former world time trial champion Ellen van Dijk and Wiggle-High5's Italian duo Elisa Longo Borghini and Audrey Cordon-Ragot also joining.
None of the riders we have spoken to would comment on the team, but the addition of the two Wiggle-High5 riders is interesting considering that team’s possible impending demise. Trek-Segafredo also declined to cofirm any deal for a women's team when contacted by Cycling Weekly.
The team will be known as Trek Factory Racing, without the Segafredo sponsorship the men's team has. Luca Guercilena, general manager of the men's squad, will also take up general management of the new women's team, however day to day management of the team will handled by former press officer for the men's squad, Tim Vanderjeugd.
A press conference has been arranged by Trek-Segafredo for Monday afternoon, during the Tour de France rest day, when they are expected to announce the launch of the team and the signing of Deignan.
The move would be an interesting one for Deignan who has not raced this season after announcing her pregnancy earlier in the year. The 2015 world champion has repeatedly stated her intention to return to the peloton after her baby is born, but has consistently kept her options open in relation to her 2019 team, adding that she needed a new challenge.
Should she sign for the new team it would bring to an end her long relationship with Boels-Dolmans, whom she joined at the team’s inception in 2013.
Rumours of a big new team joining the women’s peloton have been circulating for some weeks, however, a number of sources have confirmed the team’s existence to CW in the last few days.
While the current Trek-Segafredo men's outfit have failed to make a significant impact in recent seasons, it would appear their new women’s team should have the strength to compete from the start of the 2019 season.
A full roster is not yet known and with riders likely to be under contract to other outfits, team changes will not be officially made public until August 1.
The addition of a big ambitious new team is likely to help raise the level in any case, it is especially welcome should Wiggle-High5 close at the end of the season, as we reported last month.
Of the dual gender teams already operating, Sunweb is perhaps the model to follow.
Their women’s team is completely integrated into the structure, and the results of such a have been clear to see. They were the team of the 2017 and World Championships team time trial success for both teams was the result of joint planning.
Mitchelton-Scott are another outfit who have upped their game in recent seasons, and their women’s team have been the ones to beat through the late sort and early summer.
Movistar joined the women’s peloton this season with the aim of developing Spanish women, and while results have been an improvement on those of earlier teams form the country, they are yet to bag a big win.
The possible downside is that established and high profile women’s teams like Boels-Dolmans and Canyon-SRAM could be weakened by the might of dual gender organisations. However, one source said: “The more professional teams in women’s cycling the better, it raises the level.”
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