Veronica Ewers is the first big signing to the new women’s team EF Education-Cannondale, set to launch with a Continental licence in 2024. The US-based outfit has since announced four additional riders including Coryn Labecki, Nina Kessler, Noemi Rüegg and Megan Armitage, along with its general manager Esra Tromp.
Ewers was the only rider on the current EF Education-TIBCO-SVB team under contract through 2025, however, that programme’s future is at risk since the loss of long-time sponsors TIBCO and Silicon Valley Bank, due to “recent economic challenges and events”.
“I’m very much still growing and developing as a rider but I imagine next year I’ll be a race leader at times, especially when it comes to the Grand Tours. I’m hoping to also have more opportunities to work on being a support rider for my teammates on other days,” said Ewers, who has signed a two-year contract with the new outfit.
Ewers joined the professional peloton as a trainee in 2021 and has spent the previous two-and-half seasons under contract with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB. During that time, she has risen to become one of the peloton’s prominent riders at one-day and stage races, finishing ninth at the Tour de France Femmes in 2022 and fourth at the Giro d’Italia Donne in July.
She was forced to abandon this year’s edition of the Tour de France Femmes following a crash on stage 6 into Blagnac.
The team also announced the signing of Rüegg and Labecki from Jumbo-Visma. Rüegg is a former cyclocross racer who turned to professional road racing in 2020. She aimed to take the next step in her career with EF Education-Cannondale in the Spring Classics.
“I really like the classics. I am quite a punchy rider, so those races suit me really well. I like it when it gets hectic in the bunch and you have to be well positioned, as it is just going up and down all day and over the cobbles,” said Rüegg, who will stay with the team through 2025.
“You have to know when you have to be where. Anything can happen in those races and nobody knows how they are going to unfold. I think that makes it really exciting.”
After two years at Jumbo-Visma, Labecki will look to lead the new team in one-day races as well as opportunities on any punchy courses at stage races. Labecki is the reigning US criterium champion, one of her 73 national titles. She won the overall title at the Women’s Tour and is the only US rider to have won the Tour of Flanders.
“I would do anything for my teammates. I always stand up for my teammates. I don’t take any guff. I’ve raced for a long time and been in the sport for a long time so I love to share what I know and teach my fellow teammates. The other thing is, I’m always looking for the best way for my teammates to win. That’s always on my mind when it comes to racing. I’m a big team player,” said Labecki, who signed for 2024.
“It doesn’t matter what the course is. As long as there’s a finish line, my goal is to get there first or to get my team there first. I love the tactics. I love the strategy, how to be prepared, and everything that is involved with racing. That’s what drives me every day. I’ve been called a sprinter in the past but I like to call myself a bike racer.”
Like Labecki, Kessler brings more than a decade of experience to the team racing for Boels-Dolmans, TIBCO-SVB and Jayco AlUla.
“I think I’m pretty good at motivating the team and the riders. Especially because we will spend so much time together, you always have ups and downs, so you want to be sure you’re always giving your teammates confidence,” said Kessler, who has signed a one-year contract through 2024.
“If you have the support of your team and you do whatever you can, it’s always good. I want to give my teammates that confidence and the message to just chill and do what you can.”
Armitage is the latest signing, joining the team from Arkéa Pro Cycling. From Ireland, Armitage has signed a two-year contract and in that time she aims to improve and win races.
“I want to get to the point where I can win races. I want to win,” she said. “I want to be on a winning team. And I just want to enjoy myself and keep progressing. I have so much to learn, having come to the sport quite late, so having a home for the next years where I can learn from other riders who have been in the game for a lot, lot longer than me and learn from the directors and Esra and even the guys on the men’s team will be pretty cool. So for me, it is just continuing to improve—and winning!”