From the Tour Down Under in Australia at the start of the season to the Tour of Guangxi in China rounding off the 2023 racing season for the Women's WorldTour, it has been a year of star-studded wins and complete domination from one rider – Demi Vollering. The SD Worx super talent has had an incredible season from start to finish, winning Strade Bianche, Dwars door Vlaanderen, all the Ardennes Classics, Tour de France Femmes, Tour de Romandie, Vuelta a Burgos, and stages at both the Vuelta Femenina and Itzulia. Before the 2023 season began, a question was hanging in the air: could Vollering beat Annemiek van Vleuten? And Vollering certainly answered that with her glittering palmarès this year.
Meanwhile, Van Vleuten signed off an astounding career but perhaps didn't achieve what she would have liked to have won this year. Nevertheless, she was on the list of 2023 race winners alongside Lotte Kopecky, Marlen Reusser, Grace Brown, Elisa Longo-Borghini, Alison Jackson, Charlotte Kool, and Chiara Consonni. So, with one rider from the Dutch squad dominating the entire season, how do the other teams compare?
We reflect on the 2023 Women's WorldTour racing season and rate each team out of 10 based on the amount of WorldTour wins and how well they performed throughout the year.
Chloe Dygert, at long last, returned to full fitness and form, boosting the team as another rider along with Kasia Niewiadoma and Elise Chabbey to regularly deliver top-five finishes at the top stage races. Though, like that pair, she was consistent rather than a prolific winner. Giro d'Italia Donne and Tour de France Femmes stage victories came courtesy of younger riders Antonia Niedermaier and Ricarda Bauernfeind, respectively. Niewiadoma also, at last, broke her multi-year winless drought at the Gravel World Championships — albeit while representing Poland rather than the team.
Team DSM-Firmenich 8/10
Fears that the team would be left rudderless without the departed Lorena Wiebes were alleviated by Charlotte Kool, who stepped into her role as lead sprinter by storming her way to thirteen wins, most of them in WorldTour races. And they were far from being just a one-woman team, as Pfeiffer Georgi and Megan Jastrab proved a fearsome duo in the Classics (the former winning Classic Brugge-De Panne), and Juliette Labous placed runner-up at the Giro and fifth at the Tour de France Femmes.
EF Education-TIBCO-SVB 7/10
You might be able to count all of the team’s 2023 wins on one hand, but that hardly matters when one of them was Paris-Roubaix. Alison Jackson’s surprise triumph on that thrilling day in France was undoubtedly the greatest day in their 19-year history, but sadly, it was also a last hurrah, as the team folded at the end of the season.
Only SD Worx and Movistar managed more than FDJ’s total of nineteen wins last year, as the likes of Grace Brown, Cecile Uttrup Ludwig and the recovering Marta Cavalli made them a competitive force throughout the season. Ideally, more of those would have come at WorldTour level, but Cavalli was still some way from her top form, and Ludwig had to settle for podium finishes at the Tour of Scandinavia, Strade Bianche and the World Championships road race.
It was a struggle riding in the WorldTour for the first time, with just four wins managed all year. But there was a triumphant moment in July when Yara Kastelijn won from a breakaway on the longest day of the Tour de France Femmes. Aside from that, Christina Schweinberger was competitive in the Classics, Marthe Truyen made the podium at Paris-Roubaix, and Carina Schrempf might have won a stage at the Tour de Romandie had she not celebrated prematurely.
Human Powered Health 5/10
We might not have seen much of Human Powered Health in the major races this year, but the team still managed to tot up fourteen victories by targeting the less fashionable WorldTour events in the far corners of the globe. They began the year in Australia with Daria Pikulik winning a stage at the Tour Down Under and Nina Buijsman placing third overall at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and finished it in China with Pikulik winning GC at the Tour of Guangxi and placing third at the Tour of Chongming Island.
Israel–Premier Tech Roland 3/10
Wins were few and far between for Israel–Premier Tech Roland, though Claire Steels impressed in stage races (sixth at the Tour de Suisse being her best result), and Anna Kiesenhofer continued to animate breakaways without quite repeating the success of her Olympic triumph in 2021.
Jayco-Alula has never quite managed to move on from Annemiek van Vleuten since she left three years ago, and this year, they managed only a couple of wins and a handful of top-ten finishes at WorldTour stage races. A merger with Liv Racing-TeqFind should provide a much-needed fresh start.
The steady stream of wins Marianne Vos can usually be relied on for dried up this year, with the Dutchwoman going winless after a couple of stage wins at the Vuelta in May. The team were at least not as dependent on her as they had been previously, as Anna Henderson, Amber Kraak, Riejanne Markus and Karlijn Swinkels all posted top-five finishes in WorldTour races.
Time and time again, Lidl-Trek were left frustrated by the supremacy of SD Worx this year, with Elisa Longo Borghini being denied victories at Liège–Bastogne–Liège, the Tour of Flanders and the Tour de Suisse, and Shirin Van Anrooij at Amstel Gold and the Vuelta a Burgos, all from the all-conquering Dutch squad. Nevertheless, there were exceptions, most notably Borghini winning GC at the UAE Tour and Van Anrooij triumphing at Trofeo Alfredo Binda, and Gaia Realini emerged as the new climbing star of the peloton through podium finishes at both the Giro and the Vuelta Femenina.
Liv Racing-TeqFind 2/10
Though Liv Racing no longer has riders of the calibre of former riders Lotte Kopecky and Marianne Vos on their roster, there should be enough talent to ensure more than the sole win (Mavi García at the Spanish national road race) they managed all season. It would have been a different story if Katia Ragusa had managed to come around Alison Jackson in the velodrome at the end of Paris-Roubaix. Aside from her runner-up finish, their only results of note in the WorldTour came via a handful of top-ten finishes from García.
It took Movistar some time to get going in 2023, registering just two victories before June as Annemiek van Vleuten struggled for top form in the spring Classics. However, the ball got rolling in the summer, and they ended up with twenty wins overall. As a parting gift before retiring, Van Vleuten won the Giro, Vuelta and Tour of Scandinavia, and though she failed to defend her Tour de France Femmes title, Liane Lippert and Emma Norsgaard compensated with a stage win each.
SD Worx 10/10
Has cycling ever experienced a team as dominant as SD Worx this year? Not only did they win a jaw-dropping 62 races (astonishingly, three times more than the next best team), but they did so often by achieving first and second podium finishes: the Tour de France Femmes, Tour de Suisse, Itzulia, Strade Bianche, the Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold, to name just the most high-profile examples. Demi Vollering usurped Annemiek van Vleuten as the best rider in the world by winning the Tour de France Femmes and all three of the Ardennes, among many other victories. Lotte Kopecky was also crowned the women's world champion and won the Tour of Flanders.
UAE Team ADQ 6/10
It was common to see riders like Silvia Persico and Erica Magnaldi make the top ten of stage races without threatening a place on the podium. More success came in sprint finishes, with Chiara Consonni especially impressive. Persico also enjoyed a strong Classics campaign that saw her place fourth at the Tour of Flanders and win Brabantse Pijl.
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 3/10
The team’s second season in the WorldTour went much the same way as their debut year did, with all but one of their five victories coming in the national championships. New signings Amalie Dideriksen, Maria Giulia Confalonieri and Anouska Koster, plus the returning Elinor Barker, did make them more competitive in the Classics, though.