Canadian national champion Maggie Coles-Lyster has signed with the Israel-Premier Tech Roland squad, finding a lifeline after the collapse of the Zaaf Cycling Team.
The Women’s WorldTour team announced that the 24-year-old will debut with the team at the RideLondon Classique from May 26-28.
“We are very happy to have Maggie joining us. It’s an important signing for the team and for our partner Premier Tech, it’s also great to have the Canadian champion on board,” team owner Ruben Contreras said in a press release. “Maggie already has a lot of experience, and she will be able to strengthen our team significantly in the flat and punchy races. I think she will have a great season with us.”
Coles-Lyster was one of 15 riders to sign with the Zaaf Cycling Team for 2023. The first hint of problems came when Audrey Cordon-Ragot left the team, making allegations of non-payment. The UCI and Spanish Federation launched an investigation that resulted in the UCI permitting riders to break their contracts before the transfer window in June.
Cordon-Ragot left for Human Powered Health and competed in Paris-Roubaix with her new team. Soon after, Lizzie Stannard left for Israel-Premier Tech Roland, while Coles-Lyster, Lucie Jounier, Heidi Franz, Michaela Drummond and Mareille Meijering announced their departure. When Ebtissam Zayed Ahmed became rider number eight to leave, the UCI revoked the Zaaf team’s licence as they no longer met the minimum number of riders.
Jounier signed with Team Coop-Hitec, Meijering went to Movistar, De Francesco signed with Arkéa, and Franz signed with DNA Pro Cycling. Six remaining riders: Eva Anguela, Lucía García, Nikola Nosková, Marta Romance, Debora Silvestri, and Emanuela Zanetti, have yet to confirm a new team.
Coles-Lyster, who scored top-10s in the Scheldeprijs and stages of the Tour Down Under and Vuelta Extremadura, was making a re-start of a European racing career after racing as a junior on a Belgian team in 2017. She signed last year for a new team to be run by former B&B Hotels manager Jerome Pineau, but the project never materialised. Zaaf stepped in at the last minute and signed her before collapsing.
Being signed by a WorldTeam is a big step for the Canadian.
“I’m excited to be stepping up to the WorldTour with IPTR, and thankful to them for giving me this opportunity. It has been a difficult year and signing this contract, especially with the team’s Canadian connections, has been a breath of fresh air,” Coles-Lyster said.
“My calendar for the remainder of this season is full of opportunities, and I can’t wait to meet the girls and get racing together soon!”