Izzy Sharp, Isabella Holmgren and Ava Holmgren take a big step into the WorldTour
Lidl-Trek is keeping its sights firmly fixed on the future with three young signings to the women’s squad. Izzy Sharp has signed a three-year deal with the American team whilst twin sisters, Isabella and Ava Holmgren will both join on a contract lasting two years. Sharp was the recent winner of the silver medal in the Junior Women’s Time Trial at the Glasgow World Championships and also counts victory at Gent-Wevelgem on her palmarès, whilst the Holmgren twins are serial winners in cyclocross and XC. They frequently traded between first and second places over the cyclocross season: at the start of the year Isabella took the junior world title in cyclocross and recently added the XCO world title, whilst Ava took the elite national title, Trek CX Cup as well as silver in the Junior World Champs.
Izzy Sharp, 18-years-old, United Kingdom
“I’m really excited but also nervous at the same time. It’s a big step but I’m really happy to have the support of my dream team as I head into the world of elite cycling. Lidl-Trek has always been my dream team and I think it speaks volumes when you see that a lot of riders have remained with the Team long-term with a lot of the best, invested sponsors.
I’ve always idolised the Team, which has some riders I aspire to be like, such as Ellen van Dijk. The equipment they offer is some of the best on the market and it’s a perfect combination of new and familiar stuff for me which will be a nice crossover from what I use now. The TT world is something I want to really explore as a pro and I feel I will be in the best position with the equipment and knowledge that Trek provides.
With Lidl-Trek’s new structure, adding development opportunities for young riders on the Team, I feel my step up to the pro world will be more gradual. I hope to do some WT races as well as .1’s for my first year but I will speak with the Team to understand what they think is best for my development. After my first call with Ina Teutenberg, I knew Lidl-Trek was the right team for me and I look forward to beginning my career with them.”
Isabella Holmgren, 18-years-old, Canada
“My first reaction when the Team contacted me was simply excitement. Being a part of a WorldTour Team was a long-term goal of mine, so to have been approached with this amazing opportunity coming out of the junior category was slightly shocking, but very exciting.
I think it is a little bit intimidating to join such a great team, but that will only motivate me to be the best athlete and teammate I can possibly be. I’m ready for a new challenge and I’m eager to start working with the Team!
It’s difficult to choose one thing that I’m most excited for – with so many new opportunities, I’m looking forward to just about everything. I can’t wait to get to know this amazing Team, meet new people, and discover new places. In the next years of my development, my main ambitions are simply to learn and gain experience. Being part of a WorldTour Team will be an entirely new experience for me, so adapting to that kind of lifestyle and racing will be central to my development. My goal is to be the best asset and teammate that I can possibly be.”
Ava Holmgren, 18-years-old, Canada
“I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this incredible Team. I’m grateful for all the support I’ve gotten the last few years in order to reach this next level. Having this opportunity makes me feel privileged because I will transfer to the WorldTour level in my first year as an under 23.
I’ve had my eyes on this Team for many years even though I am only 18 years old. Whether it was cheering on a home favourite mountain bike rider, racing the Cyclocross World Cup at the Trek Headquarters, or watching Lizzie Deignan win the first ever Paris-Roubaix. It is no secret that the Trek family has amazing programs, values, and success in each aspect of cycling. I think Lidl-Trek has a brilliant mix of experienced and growing riders, proving to be a perfect match for a new rider like me!
I’m very excited to start a new chapter in my cycling career alongside my sister. I’m also looking forward to meeting everyone, adapting to new equipment, and learning from the riders on my Team. This new environment will be the best place for me to evolve into a better cyclist. My goal is to create the necessary foundations in lifestyle, training, and racing in order to have a strong base for a long career. I will have to adjust and adapt to the new challenges that will come my way. Challenges such as learning how to race with more teammates and how to navigate my way through the pro peloton.”
Josu Larrazabal, Lidl-Trek’s Head of Performance
“Women’s cycling is growing exponentially, but it doesn’t yet have such a deep calendar or clearly established levels which means it can be more difficult to find enough opportunities to develop under 23 riders on a separate program. For us, at the current time, we believe it makes more sense to fit a development structure within our WorldTour program, which will allow the younger riders the chance to ride smaller races whilst surrounded by experienced professionals to help guide them. If the time is right and the characteristics suit them, these developing riders will also get a chance to ride WorldTour races on occasion.
The way we are working, we know that we will reach the development goals for each team when the time is right. We will continue to grow the structure and race program, in line with the expansion of the sport as a whole, in the way that we think is right to achieve our goals. We will look for more non-WorldTour races and add them to our program. These young women will have a mixed calendar of some of the easier WorldTour races and other stage races that are a bit longer than they have been used to in the junior category. It’s really important that we keep the chance to win, which is why we build up towards the WorldTour in this way, that they keep winning and enjoy that element of performance.
We have some reference races, like the Nations Cups, when the best riders from each country are racing. In addition to Ina Teutenberg, our DS, who knows the field very well, we have our Talent Scout Markel Irizar. Markel combines his role as a scout with his work as a part-time DS for the women’s team: symbiotic functions which improve both aspects of his work.
This year we had an additional help from Ellen van Dijk during her pregnancy. She was visiting some of the junior races in the Netherlands and suggested some riders for us to keep an eye on. Izzy Sharp had already been on our radar due to her good results in the Nations Cups, so then Ellen went to see her at some races and had a positive conversation with her.
Isabella and Ava Holmgren came to us through our colleagues at the Trek Race Shop, from the MTB and CX scene. We got in contact with Isabella and Ava and they were both interested to developing more on the road side. We explained the development project to all three of the new riders and got to know them to confirm that they were all ready for this step and would fit well within the Team.”