It’s been all change for several Isle of Man cyclists during the off-season.
While much of the attention has been centred around Mark Cavendish’s future following the end of his contract with Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, other Manx stars have been changing teams ahead of the 2023 campaign.
Key to much of this has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future of the Le Col-Wahoo women’s team where Lizzie Holden and Anna Christian were due to be joined by fellow Commonwealth Games rider Becky Storrie for the new season.
Fresh from another stellar season in the professional ranks, Holden has now signed a deal to move to UAE Team ADQ - a top-tier team which competes on the illustrious Women’s WorldTour.
Speaking about the move, the 25-year-old said: ‘The World Tour has always been a goal ever since I started cycling. So I’m super excited to start this new journey with UAE Team ADQ.
‘I think that I still have a lot to learn within cycling and with the team’s structure and its high-performance focus. I’m confident to say I am at the right place at this stage in my career.
‘Having the confidence from the team and being surrounded by such high-quality riders, I think this will really push me to the next level.
‘I want to work hard and improve. I want to contribute to the team and help my new team-mates achieve big goals.
‘Personally, I think I still need to work on improving my self-confidence and my own ability. But I believe that being surrounded by such a positive and successful team will help me a lot.
‘During my career, I have seen women’s sports grow so much, so as a female athlete I feel it is important to empower and motivate other women to follow their dreams.
‘For this reason, I am really excited to be part of the team’s broader project, which is to support and promote female sport, especially in the UAE.’
Holden has now been followed out the door by fellow local Storrie who has made the switch to Team DSM, who also compete at Women’s WorldTour level.
Speaking to the club’s website, the 24-year-old commented: ‘I am excited to be stepping up to the WorldTour with Team DSM.
‘They are a team that I have admired since I started cycling and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been offered this opportunity.
‘The team has a real emphasis on development and I am confident that this environment will allow me to maximise my potential as a rider.
‘I am looking forward to working with the team and gaining experience at this level. I believe that together we can achieve great things.’
Team DSM head coach Rudi Kemna paid tribute to the Manx rider, saying: ‘Becky already came onto our scouting team’s radar two years ago and we’ve followed her progress since then.
‘Having made the switch from triathlon to full-time cycling only relatively recently, we think that she still has a big margin to progress and improve.
‘Physically she has some really interesting qualities and is someone with potential as a climber and time trial rider.
‘Of course, there is more to bike racing than the physical aspect, so we will work closely together with Becky to help her step-by-step development and complete her transformation from triathlete to cyclist.’
At the time of going to press, there have been no updates on Anna Christian’s plans for the 2023 season and whether or not she remains with Le Col Wahoo.
Also making a move to pastures new is reigning British criterium champion Matty Bostock who, after several very successful seasons at the Canyon continental team, heads to New Zealand to join up with pro outfit Bolton Equities Black Spoke.
Speaking about the move, Bocky commented: ‘I’m really excited to be stepping up to the pro ranks with Bolton Equities Black Spoke, it’s something I’ve been working towards for a long time and I can’t think of a better place to do it.
‘I’m really grateful to be given the opportunity, and with a great programme and environment I’m hoping we can have a lot of success together next year.
‘Ambition-wise there are a few races I have my eyes on for 2023, but to keep it simple: form a good bond with the fast guys on the team and try to win as many races together as we can!’
One person who isn’t swapping teams during the off-season is the ultra-steady Manxman Sam Brand who will continue his successful career with the all-diabetic Team Novo Nordisk into a seventh season with the America-based outfit.