Always at the periphery of races, BikeExchange-Jayco claimed plenty of top 12 finishes courtesy of riders like Georgie Baker, Alexandra Manly and Amanda Spratt. But they lacked a talisman to deliver really big results, as Grace Brown and, before her, Annemiek van Vleuten used to do in previous seasons.
The rest of the team picked up Kasia Niewiadoma’s habit of consistently picking up high finishes without ever winning, with Elise Chabbey earning four top seven finishes and Soraya Paladin third at Trofeo Alfredo Binda to add to Niewiadoma’s six top 10s. Impressive stuff, but the team would have dearly loved a win.
Team DSM: 7/10
Prolific as ever, Lorena Wiebes sprinted to four classic wins in total, including a very impressive defence of her Ronde van Drenthe title, although she at last met her sprinting match in Elisa Balsamo, who edged her into second at Brugge-De Panne. In what was a good spring all-round for the team, Liane Lippert rediscovered her legs to podium at both Flèche Wallonne and De Brabantse Pijl, while Floortje Mackaij was sixth at Paris-Roubaix.
EF EDUCATION-TIBCO-SVB: 3/10
This was a bit of a baptism of fire for EF Education-Tibco-SVB, in what was their first classics campaign as a WorldTour team. Lizzie Banks was limited to just two days of racing and Lauren Stephens lacked her best form, leaving it to Kristabel Doebel-Hickok and Letizia Borghesi to register the team’s best results with eight at Flèche Wallonne and Scheldeprijs respectively.
FDJ NOUVELLE-AQUITANE FUTUROSCOPE: 9/10
Without a doubt the most improved team in the peloton, FDJ got better and better as the spring went on. They’re strength-in-depth during the first half of the campaign was epitomised by Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Grace Brown and Brodie Chapman all making the top 10 of the Tour of Flanders, before another rider found an extra cutting edge to go even better: Marta Cavalli, who defied the top teams and riders to claim a brilliant Amstel Gold Race/Flèche Wallonne double.
HUMAN POWERED HEALTH: 2/10
The orange and purple kits of this newly-induced WorldTour member were rarely mistaken for the similar-looking SD Worx, as their roster failed to make much of an impact in any race throughout the spring.
Hampered by a lack of racing for Marianne Vos, first due to her preparation for Paris-Roubaix, then the Covid positive that forced her to miss it, Jumbo-Visma had a challenging spring. Vos still managed second at Gent-Wevelgem and seventh at Strade Bianche on two of the three races she did race, while the likes of Anna Henderson, Anouska Koster, Riejanne Markus and especially Coryn Labecki all rode admirably, but the team didn’t manage a win all spring.
LIV RACING XSTRA: 5/10
Rachele Barbieri showed the use of having a quick sprinter in your ranks, especially if you’re a team that, like Liv Racing Xstra, is lacking the real top stars. The Italian sprinted to the team’s best results this spring, third at Scheldeprijs and sixth at Dwars door Vlaanderen, while Alison Jackson and Valerie Demey also had solid campaigns, but this was inevitably step down following the departure of Lotte Kopecky.
Annemiek van Vleuten often found herself overpowered by other teams this spring, which partly explains why she had so many second-place finishes (Strade Bianche, the Tour of Flanders, Flèche Wallonne), but her brute force still saw her win Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. There were impressive rides elsewhere in the team, too, with Arlenis Sierra finishing fourth at the Tour of Flanders, while Emma Norsgaard’s Le Samyn win was the best of many strong sprints.
ROLAND COGEAS EDELWEISS: 2/10
As suggested by their lack of results, this Swiss team isn’t quite up to WorldTour standards yet. But Tamara Dronova-Balabolina enjoyed a good spring, the highlight being eighth at Gent-Wevelgem.
SD WORX: 9/10
No Anna van der Breggen, no problem. Following the Dutchwoman’s retirement, new signing Lotte Kopecky stepped up to become the team’s new Classics star, twice getting the better of Annemiek van Vleuten to win a magnificent Strade Bianche/Tour of Flanders double. As ever, though, the team’s success was collective, with Demi Vollering starring in the hilly Classics with podium finishes at Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège as well as a win at Brabantse Pijl, and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, Marlen Reusser and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio all playing crucial roles while collecting high finishes for themselves.
When it came to the very biggest WorldTour Classics, Trek-Segafredo were the outstanding team this spring, and looked an even more impressive team despite a pregnant Lizzie Deignan taking a break from racing. That was largely down to the immediate impact of new signing Elisa Balsamo, who honoured the rainbow jersey with a superb one-week hat-trick of Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem, but it was down to old-timer Elisa Longo Borghini to deliver the biggest win — Paris-Roubaix, ensuring that the Hell of the North remains exclusively in the team’s trophy cabinet following Deignan’s inaugural success last year.
UAE TEAM ADQ: 6/10
A benefactor of a spring that often saw races come down to bunch sprints, Marta Bastianelli regularly made the top ten of races, making the podium at Brugge-De Panne and Nokere Koerse, and winning Omloop van het Hageland. Mavi Garcia was similarly consistent in the hilly classics, with fifth at Fleve Wallonne and sixth at Amstel Gold, while Sofia Bertizzolo also sprinted to second at Trofeo Alfredo Binda.
This Norwegian team settled in nicely for their first classics campaign, thanks mostly to one rider — Susanne Andersen. The 23-year-old used her quick sprint to land the team plenty of invaluable top-15 finishes throughout the spring, most notably fourth at Le Samyn and seventh at Gent-Wevelgem.
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Stephen Puddicombe is a freelance journalist for Cycling Weekly, who regularly contributes to our World Tour racing coverage with race reports, news stories, interviews and features. Outside of cycling, he also enjoys writing about film and TV - but you won't find much of that content embedded into his CW articles.
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