From Grand Tour victories to gold medals: The nine best signings of 2022
We look back at the signings that made the biggest impacts during this year's season
Quantifying a rider's impact on their team comes down to several factors. Did they pick up some victories themselves? Were they constantly on the attack in a Grand Tour like the Tour de France getting TV time for the sponsors? Or maybe they picked up victory in a monument.
These were all questions that we asked ourselves when looking back on the campaign just gone.
So many riders made a difference.
Some achieved huge victories at the first time of asking, others went above and beyond and helped their new teammates to do the same. Others also finally achieved their stage race potential that they had been promising for so long.
Here are our top nine signings that made an impact in the men's and women's WorldTour in 2022.
Aussie Grace Brown has had a stunning year with new team FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope after spending two years with her native Mitchelton-Scott squad.
The 30-year-old’s success was all year long, and started with her taking the honours in the women’s time trial at the Australian National Championships, as well as finishing second in the road race. After that, Brown achieved seventh at the Tour of Flanders and then finished second at Liège–Bastogne–Liège in April.
Her scintillating form continued as she finished second overall to Elisa Longo Borghini at the Women’s Tour before winning gold in the women’s time trial at the Commonwealth Games.
Brown then took a stage win at the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta in August, before finishing second in the time trial at the World Championships in her native Australia.
Some season indeed.
Australian Jai Hindley may seem like an obvious choice, although after winning the Giro d’Italia in his debut season with Bora-Hansgrohe you simply have to include him.
Hindley finished second at the rearranged Giro in 2020 by literally seconds to Ineos Grenadiers’ Tao Geohagen Hart, and was then forced to withdraw from the 2021 edition on stage 13. Clearly feeling he had a score to settle at the Italian Grand Tour, Hindley returned in the colours of his new German team Bora-Hansgrohe with a vengeance.
Coming into the Giro, the Aussie had finished fifth at Tirreno-Adriatico. Once the Giro was underway, his sparkling form was then clear for all to see when he outsprinted all of the other favourites to take an impressive stage win on the iconic Blockhaus mountain.
After being teed up by teammate Lennard Kämna, Hindley then snatched the Maglia Rosa, or pink jersey, from the shoulders of Richard Carapaz with a daring late attack on the Marmolada pass on the penultimate stage to ensure he’d lift the Giro trophy in Verona the following day.
After consistently flying under the radar at Cofidis, Frenchman Christophe Laporte really took next level after signing for Jumbo-Visma.
Laporte was instrumental in Jumbo-Visma’s dominance at Paris-Nice, crossing the line first in the team's spectacular 1-2-3 on the opening stage. He then ensured that team leaders Wout van Aert and Primož Roglič were kept out of trouble for the rest of the week, with the latter taking the overall win. He then set up his teammate Van Aert for victory at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, before finishing in second place again at Gent-Wevelgem.
The former Cofidis man went on to play a huge part in his team's sensational Tour de France victory from Jonas Vingegaard, helping to keep the team's leader safe through the flatter stages as well as occasionally being present in the mountains.
Laporte was rewarded by being given his own chance to shine on stage 19, capping a superb three weeks for Jumbo as he spoiled the party for the sprinters, taking the stage 19 victory in Cahors. The Frenchman then won a silver medal in the road race at the World Championships in September.
SD Worx know how to conduct a shrewd bit of business, and in signing Marlen Reusser they got one of the pre-eminent rouleurs of the women's peloton. Despite only being on the Women's WorldTour for a year, the Swiss rider was hot property, and played a crucial role for the Dutch super team throughout the year.
As well as being a top ally for her starrier teammates, Reusser won one stage four of the inaugural Tour de France Femmes, one of only two riders that won a stage who weren't Dutch. The fact she did it in such a storming way over the gravel sectors, finishing the day off with a 23.1km solo attack shows how valuable she was and is to her team.
Reusser went on to win the time trial at the European Championships and then help her team to mixed relay gold at the World Championships. One feels there's more to come from the Swiss time trial specialist.
Marc Soler enjoyed a brilliant debut season with UAE Team Emirates, in which he played a significant role in keeping Tadej Pogačar in contention at the Tour de France.
Many questioned Soler’s move from Movistar to his new team, although the Spaniard vindicated his transfer from his old stomping ground with a memorable stage win in UAE colours at the Vuelta a España.
Furthermore, Soler was consistently on the attack throughout the entire three weeks, and went close to stage victories on other occasions. Ultimately he was rewarded for his efforts with the prize for the most combative rider.
Soler’s climbing brilliance also helped to ensure a third overall for his young fellow Spanish teammate, Juan Ayuso.
27-year-old Lotte Kopecky had an incredible year since making the switch from Liv Racing to SD Worx.
Last year was special for Kopecky, as she took victories in both the female road race and time trial at the Belgian National Championships as well as Le Samyn. She also came second at the women's edition of Gent-Wevelgem.
However, moving to SD Worx saw Kopecky well and truly take her performances to the next level. This year the Belgian retained her title as Belgian time trial champion, before she then took a stunning win at the Tour of Flanders, something which cemented her position as a home favourite.
Prior to that Kopecky, had already won the female edition of Strade Bianche and the rest of the spring saw her finish second to Eliso Longo Borghini at Paris Roubaix.
Later in the year, Kopecky won an outstanding silver medal in the road race at the World Championships in Australia. She will be one to watch once again next spring when the Classics come back around.
Tiesj Benoot was part of the new signing double-act at Jumbo-Visma, playing an equally as starring role as his fellow new signing Laporte in their new team's success this campaign.
Bringing in Benoot along with Laporte was a shrewd bit of business by the Jumbo top brass, and the 28-year-old delivered.
The former Strade Bianche winner finished second at Dwars door Vlaanderen in the Spring, before finishing third at the Amstel Gold race. Not quite the coveted classics wins that he may have hoped for, but solid results nonetheless.
Later on in the Spring, the all-rounder played a huge role in ensuring that Wout van Aert took the win at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, but it was the Tour de France where he really shone.
On the final climb of stage four before the run into Calais, both Benoot and Laporte moved to the front of the peloton and put in a stinging two-up attack that launched teammate Van Aert to a stunning stage victory in the yellow jersey.
Trek-Segafredo’s Elisa Balsamo had yet another fantastic year on both the road and track.
The 24-year-old Italian joined her fellow countrywoman, Elisa Longo Borghini, at Trek this year and didn’t look back. On the road Balsamo took the victory in the women’s Italian national championships. She was also on fire throughout the spring, winning the female edition of Gent-Wevelgem, a race she had finished fourth at the year before.
As well as that, Balsamo also took two stage wins at the Giro Donne and finished eighth in the Amstel Gold Race.
On the track Balsamo was part of the victorious Italian team pursuit squad at the Track World Championships.
Young American Magnus Sheffield was riding for Rally Cycling in 2021 but was offered a dream move to Ineos Grenadiers for 2022.
A big step up, but one which the 20-year-old American certainly relished. In his debut season with Ineos, Sheffield won Brabantse Pijl at the first time of asking, and was consistently in the thick of the action during some of the early spring classics.
As well as his big win in Belgium, Sheffield also took a resounding victory on stage three of the Vuelta a Andalucia and finished a highly respectable second in the men’s time trial at the US national championships.
The Ineos man will certainly be one to watch in 2023.
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Tom is a News and Features Writer at Cycling Weekly, and previously worked in communications at Oxford Brookes University. Alongside his day job, prior to starting with the team, he wrote a variety of different pieces as a contributor to a cycling website, Casquettes and Bidons, which included interviews with up and coming British riders.
‘Moments to live and remember’: Roglič set to win the pink jersey after winning extraordinary penultimate stage of the Giro d’Italia
Thomas loses the pink jersey to Slovenian by just 14 seconds
By Stephen Puddicombe • Published
The best Memorial Day deals for cyclists
Memorial Day is coming up in the United States. We've rounded up the best Memorial Day deals for cyclists including bikes, apparel, gear and accessories.
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
Who's leading the Giro d'Italia 2023 after stage 20?
Primož Roglič takes the pink jersey from Geraint Thomas
By Tom Davidson • Published
Giro d'Italia live: Alberto Dainese wins stage 17 in tight photo finish
It will almost definitely be a sprint in Caorle at the end of the day
By Adam Becket • Published
From drawing to Giro d'Italia in 2 months: How SunGod reinvented Geraint Thomas' iconic sunglasses
The glasses, GTs, have been seen on the Welshman's face throughout his impressive Giro d'Italia run
By Adam Becket • Published
'It's nice to be back in pink': Geraint Thomas returns to lead at Giro d'Italia as GC battle finally catches fire
Ineos Grenadiers rider will try and leave it all on the road in the days ahead after he climbs back into pink jersey
By Adam Becket • Published
João Almeida pounces on Monte Bondone to take Giro d’Italia stage 16 victory
Geraint Thomas puts in late attack to reclaim maglia rosa and finish second on tough mountain top finish behind Portuguese climber
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Giro d'Italia stage 16 live: João Almeida wins on Monte Bondone; Geraint Thomas reclaims overall lead
Join us for live updates from stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia to Monte Bondone
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Here are all the riders and staff fined at the Giro d'Italia 2023 up to stage 16
Riders and their directeur sportifs can be fined for anything from littering to reckless behaviour
By Adam Becket • Last updated
Giro d’Italia 2023: Five things we learned from week two
After a hugely impressive spring campaign, Ben Healy shows no signs of slowing down as the season continues
By Tom Thewlis • Published