While Annemiek van Vleuten dominated much of the headlines this season, there was much more to the 2022 road season than the dominating Dutchwoman.
This year saw a number of riders make good on early promise and racked up some strong performances in what has been a historic year for women’s racing.
- Veronica Ewers: I’m living very much as a nomad in Europe
- Consonni looking forward to sprint ‘fights’ with Balsamo after Dwars door Vlaanderen win
- Marta Cavalli doesn’t know yet just how good she can be
VeloNews has crafted a list of five riders who enjoyed breakout seasons in 2022.
Some have been honing their craft for a few years while others are more recent inclusions into the peloton, but one thing they all have in common was a big year of racing.
Veronica Ewers (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB)
It’s a story that has been told a few times now, but it deserves a brief retelling. Veronica Ewers, who began her sporting career as a soccer player, only turned professional midway through last year. She didn’t take long to get up to speed and claimed her first professional victory at the Festival Elsy Jacobs in May. That was quickly followed by a successful trip to Spain that saw her take a top-10 finish at Itzulia women, second places at Emakumeen Nafarroako and Durango-Durango, and another win at the Navarra Elite Classics.
Ewers continued her run of form right into the summer months where she rode the inaugural Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift and took ninth overall. Though she wanted a bit more from her debut world championships in Australia last month, finishing runner-up to Elisa Longo Borghini at a pair of Italian classics and fifth overall at the Tour de Romandie Féminin was a solid way to end the season.
After this year’s performances, Ewers will be one of the most exciting riders to watch next season.
Marta Cavalli (FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope)
Marta Cavalli is a rider that has been showing plenty of promise since she turned professional back in 2017. Bit by bit, the 24-year-old has been building upon the experience that she has gained, and it really paid dividends this season. Scoring third place overall in her opening race of the season, the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, was an early sign that Cavalli was heading in the right direction for the spring classics.
The Italian’s season really took flight in April when she won the Amstel Gold Race and then went on to take victory at Flèche Wallonne 10 days later, squeezing in a top-5 at Paris-Roubaix in between. She wasn’t quite able to do the Ardennes triple by winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but it was a spring campaign that will be remembered for some time.
Following her early exploits, there was plenty of excitement surrounding her appearances at the Giro d’Italia Donne and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. She rode to a strong second place overall at the Giro, but we were denied the chance to see what she could do in France after she was forced to abandon the Tour during the second stage following a horrific crash.
Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo)
The 20-year-old Shirin van Anrooij came into the pro peloton last year to plenty of hype following a brief spell as a stagiaire for Trek-Segafredo. A junior national and European time trial champion as well as a promising cyclocross star, the hype was well deserved. While she racked up some good results in 2021 — particularly in cyclocross — Van Anrooij stepped things up a notch for this year.
She kicked things off with a good spring that included a top-10 finish at Strade Bianche and some strong results across the Ardennes classics. Having missed out on the U23 title at the cyclocross worlds, she won both the time trial and the road race at the European road championships. It was a just a shame that she couldn’t go for the road world title as the race within a race system implemented by the UCI for this year meant she had to work for her elite teammates.
Van Anrooij’s biggest statement of intent for her future came at the Tour de France Femmes where she finished 14th overall and took a dominant victory in the youth classification. Her performances this year saw her ride away with the title of best U23 rider. At just 20, Van Anrooij has plenty more room for development and she’s going to be a future star of the sport.
Neve Bradbury (Canyon-SRAM)
Neve Bradbury is another rider that turned professional last year. Her path into the peloton was a little less common, though it is becoming a bit more so with each passing year. The 20-year-old Australian got her chance to race professionally after winning the 2020 edition of the Zwift Academy, earning her a place on the Canyon-SRAM team. After a solid opening season, she and the team packed in a bigger racing program for this year.
She really hit her stride in the summer with second in the youth classification at the Tour de Suisse followed a top-10 finish in her grand tour debut at the Giro d’Italia Donne. Bradbury was finally able to clock up the victory she had been knocking on the door of all season when she claimed the youth classification at the Tour of Scandinavia, taking fifth place overall, too.
Chiara Consonni (Valcar-Travel & Service)
Chiara Consonni has been picking up good results here and there throughout the early part of her career but 2022 really saw her breakthrough. Following a disappointing opening race of the season, the 23-year-old had a stellar spring when a string of top-10 finishes finally converted into victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen.
She picked up a few more victories in Belgium over the course of the opening part of the season before heading to the Giro d’Italia Donne where she claimed the biggest road win of her career so far. Consonni’s success hasn’t been limited to the road and she’s been flying high with the Italian team pursuit squad, winning the world title with them this week in France.
It will be interesting to watch how Consonni does next year when she steps up to the WorldTour with UAE Team ADQ.