Dutch women's team NXTG have announced AG Insurance as their new title sponsors, and are aiming for the Women's WorldTour.
The UCI Team announced the goal of joining the WorldTour in 2023 with the backing of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at a press conference on Tuesday.
They will race as AG Insurance-NXTG for the first time at Thursday's Women's WorldTour race, the Classic Brugge-De Panne.
Quick-Step's boss, Patrick Lefevere, announced his intentions to support the Dutch team earlier this year.
The Belgian, who has previously been criticised for his comments on women's cycling, appears to have changed his mind on the female side of the sport, which he was previously quoted as calling a charity case.
His men's team have consistently been the most successful team in cycling, with 13 wins already in 2022.
“When we turned into an elite women’s team in 2019 after the year in the junior ranks, we continued to build on that basis. When you build a house, you don’t start with a roof but with the foundations,” NXTG founder Natascha den Ouden said on Tuesday.
“We aim to provide young female riders with a professional set-up where they can realize their dreams of being a professional cyclist. This dream started in 2019 with our first-ever elite race at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and continues to grow every day and from tomorrow with AG Insurance and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl by our side.”
“As I have discussed when we first got involved with the NXTG team, we were looking to work with a women’s team, to help from the ground up and build real foundations, and the project of Natascha is the perfect fit,” Lefevere said following the announcement.
“During my time in cycling, we have a track record of working with young riders and helping them to develop. We will apply the same philosophy with this team, giving young, talented riders a clear and sustainable progression path under the spirit, the culture, and philosophy that leads the day-by-day operations of the Wolfpack.”
The Belgian said that the team would be building towards the Women's WorldTour for next year.
“Over the rest of 2022, the team will look to transition to a structure made up of a senior team, a U23 team, and a U19 team, with the aim of the senior team joining the Women’s World Tour in 2023," Lefevere said. “It is a unique project within women’s cycling, and we are very happy that AG Insurance shares our vision and we look forward to seeing our athletes and the team progress.”
AG Insurance-NXTG was founded in 2019 as Rogelli-Gyproc and has so far been focused on developing young riders aged from 18 to 23.
Ex-SD Worx rider Jolien D'Hoore joined as directeur sportif this season, while riders Charlotte Kool and Shari Bossuyt progressed up to the Women's WorldTour, signing with Team DSM and Canyon-Sram.
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