Rally Cycling has reunited ex-teammates Mieke Kröger and Evy Kuijpers by signing the duo to its women’s team for 2022. They had previously raced with each other on Futurumshop.nl Zannata in 2014 and will strengthen the team’s Classics roster.
The newcomers spoke about the opportunities they hope to get next season and how their experiences racing in Europe will benefit Rally Cycling as the team applies for a Women’s WorldTour license.
Olympic gold medalist Kröger, from Bielefield in Germany, is a time-trial specialist who excels over Classics-style terrain and at short stage races. She joins from Team Coop – Hitec Products on a one-year contract.
Kröger describes herself as a “proper diesel,” who enjoys it when the going gets tough.
“I’m looking forward to it,” the 28-year-old said. “Racing under American management is something I’ve never experienced so I’m really excited.”
Kröger had an incredibly successful 2021, winning team pursuit gold at Tokyo 2020 and then a rainbow jersey as part of the German Mixed Relay TTT squad in Flanders. She has also found success at shorter stage races, as shown by her overall victory at the Lotto Belgium Tour in 2019 and second place in GC at this year’s Baloise Ladies Tour.
“I’m looking forward to Roubaix again as I enjoy the Classics when it’s bad weather,” Kröger explains. “My motor is really running during the last part of the season though, so I’m also looking forward to some smaller stage races where I perform well because of my time-trialling.”
Having raced professionally since 2013, the German arrives with a wealth of experience and as well as performing on the bike, hopes to be a good mentor to the younger riders on the team.
The science of racing
Rally Cycling also welcomes Classics rider Kuijpers from Liv Racing for the 2022 season. The change is the start of “a new adventure” for the 26-year-old from the Netherlands who is looking forward to having the freedom to work for both herself and the team.
“I’m really looking forward to the Classics and the first edition of Tour de France Femmes,” Kuijpers said. “Rally Cycling is a team with a lot of opportunities to work with young riders and I hope I can share my WorldTour racing experience.”
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Kuijpers, who graduated with a degree in sports science last year, got her start in cyclocross before turning professional in 2014. Handling, power, and the ability to race on different surfaces are all skills crucial for racing the classics that Kuijpers developed by racing off-road.
“I’m a rider that really likes bad circumstances, like the cold and wind,” said Kaijpers. “I’m more of a Classics rider but I also like stage races. I always have a good sprint from a small group and can do a lead-out too,” she added.
Not many riders would describe the Classics as feeling “comfortable,” which shows why Kuijpers will be a valuable asset come spring. Another rider who is comfortable in muddy conditions is of course Katie Clouse. Like Williams, she too will join the new signings on the team next season.
Leading from the front
“Both Evy and Mieke bring real depth and experience to the team for our early objectives,” said women’s team director Andrew Bajadali. “They are both strong rouleur type riders with proven abilities riding against the clock and in Classic-type races where wind and the elements play a significant factor.”
“We’re also excited by the prospect of adding both of them to drive our leadout efforts when a sprint situation is necessary,” added Bajadali. “Their depth of experience, ability to communicate and physical strength will be invaluable, and will have a huge impact for the entire team, especially our younger riders.”
The team is delighted to be welcoming Kröger and Kuijpers and renewing with Clouse and Williams for 2022. Look out for more rider announcements over the coming weeks.