Canadian sisters Ava and Isabella Holmgren and British talent Isabel “Izzy” Sharp signed multi-year deals to make Lidl-Trek their new home next season. All three are just 18 years old and carry successful multi-disciplinary resumes from the junior ranks to their debuts on the Women’s WorldTour.
Lidl-Trek confirmed a three-year contract with Sharp to take her through 2026, while the Holmgren duo will be part of the team for the next two years. Their development will be guided by women’s team director Ina Teutenberg, as well as Markel Irizar, talent scout for LIdl-Trek and a part-time DS for the women’s team.
“Izzy Sharp had already been on our radar due to her good results in the Nations Cups,” said Josu Larrazabal, Lidl-Trek’s head of performance, who added that Ellen van Dijk went to see Sharp perform at some races and had positive feedback.
“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.”
The Holmgren twins are not identical, but have duplicated career paths as teenagers across cyclocross, mountain bike and road disciplines, performing for the Stimulus/Orbea programme as well as etching their names in the history books for Team Canada.
In February at the Cyclocross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Isabella won the gold medal in the junior women’s race while Ava took the silver, giving Canada the first-ever World titles in the discipline at any level.
Then in August, at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Glasgow, Isabella earned her second rainbow jersey in the junior women’s XCO event. She was also eighth in the junior women’s road race. Meanwhile, Ava holds the elite national and junior Pan-Am titles in cyclocross.
“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,” said Isabella Holmgren.
Her sister Ava echoed the enthusiasm, noting that it was a privilege to compete at the WorldTour level as a first-year U23 rider. She also was excited to start a new chapter in her sports career alongside her sibling.
“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,” Ava said.
Sharp won the silver medal in the women’s junior individual time trial at the UCI Road World Championships two weeks ago. A winner on the road in the junior women’s event at Gent-Wevelgem and on the GC at the three-day Omloop van Borsele, Sharp has also dazzled on the track. She partnered with Carys Lloyd to win the European title in the Madison in July, and last year, she won the European Championship in the points race.
“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,” said Sharp, who turned her focus to cycling from racing triathlons.
The trio will take part in smaller road events at first in their development as under-23 riders, and get opportunities to test themselves in WorldTour races.
“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,” Larrazabal said. “If the time is right and the characteristics suit them, these developing riders will also get a chance to ride WorldTour races on occasion.
“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.”
Earlier this week Lidl-Trek announced it would field a men’s development team next season. Among the eight riders named to the roster included Louis Leidert of Germany, who was third in the junior men’s time trial at the World Championships in Scotland.