Future Women's GT-ish Winner (2023 Edition)

Who will win a GT-ish race in the future?

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With the retirement of cycling legend Annemiek van Vleuten, the women's peloton could be entering an era of more unpredictability, or perhaps it'll just lead to a future of total Demination. Who knows? Well we're about to find out if maybe you do.

For the purpose of this poll, I regard all past editions of the Giro Donne and the Tour de France Femmes as having been GT-ish races, but only the Vueltas from 2021 onwards (when actual mountains featured for the first time). This means that only Demi Vollering and Marianne Vos are excluded from consideration.

In order to narrow down the field, I've only added the riders, who have podiumed at least one of the races in the past, apart from Elise Chabbey, Amanda Spratt and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, cause I doubt they will be able to do it again (although one should never completely rule out PFP). There could have been a 10th option, but I feel like, there are just too many riders whose chances are sort of the same at the moment.
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Feb 24, 2023
Difficult to see someone of those beating Vollering.

Thinking some years ahead: Anna Shackley, Fem Van Empel, Isabella Holmgrem.
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Difficult to see someone of those beating Vollering.

Thinking some years ahead: Anna Shackley, Fem Van Empel, Isabella Holmgrem.

We'll have to wait and see, but I'm not sure Vollering will be riding all 3 races, not every year anyway, so there should be ways for some of them to win.

I think Niamh Fisher-Black could win a weak GT BUT it won't happen at SD Worx. And of course my old favorite Sarah Gigante has the tools if she can be motivated to live in Europe and can remain healthy.

NFB has suffered from both lack of opportunites and bad luck, like in this year's Vuelta, but unlike most of the others in the poll, she hasn't really had that one day that made you believe she could win a GT-ish race soon. She's still young though, but she'll probably need to improve her time trialing to have a chance.

Many people would love to see Gigante do well, and without AVV in the team, she should get more chances now, if she manages to stay healthy.

Realini has insane climbing potential which could get her there

With the rapid pogression she's had under the guidance of Paolo Slongo, it's difficult to see her not bag at least a Giro at some point. If they have a 2021 like route again, with two MTFs and an MTT, she could be hard to beat with her current level and actual team support.
There's a tonne of names with potential. But I'd be surprised if we never see Ricarda Bauernfeind on the podium. & Surely Kopecky is going to go for yellow one year?

Bauernfeind is definitely among the 15-20 riders who could have been the 10th name in the poll.

Right now, Moolman Pasio and García are probably the least likely to feature in next year due to their ages and not too impressive 2023 seasons (if AMP actually retires this time around, then she obviously won't be included no matter what).
Of the 9 on the list, I'd say the most likely would be ELB and Realini, followed by Reusser.

My reasoning for this is that Trek have the better strength in terms of alternate GC options than DSM or Canyon-SRAM (at least until the likes of Bauernfeind progress to sufficient point as to be seen as a genuine threat in races of that kind), and Marlen Reusser rides for SD Worx.

ELB is probably the outright strongest as a GC rider in that selection at the moment, I think alongside Niewiadoma, but ELB is more likely to win for two reasons; 1) Trek have better strength in depth, and 2) Elisa is more likely to make the right tactical decisions since Kasia's book of tactics was written by Jacky Durand and just reads "attack!" in a variety of languages.

Realini I think because she could in time become the best pure climber in the péloton and I could see the Italians especially designing routes around her, in the way they used to for Luperini, especially if SD Worx' domination continues, we may see the Italians start designing routes with climbs designed around making it hard enough to try to break team train type activities.

Reusser I think is more likely than Kopecky because I think the direction that routes are going is tilting the routes more towards a broader spectrum of climbing and less of the "most of the race is typical flat to rolling, and then one big mountain stage" formats, which would disadvantage her. Also Demi Vollering seems to like riding with Marlen, they don't tend to tread on each others' toes like Demi and Lotte.

Labous is a great climber but I think DSM don't have enough support in there. Cavalli I'm still waiting on proof of her level post-injuries, FDJ have got a good squad of potential leaders but I can't help but feel that they are a bit like UAE in the 2023 Vuelta in comparison to SD Worx as Jumbo, you know?

For younger names I'm looking at the likes of Bauernfeind of course, but there's Niedermaier, van Empel, van Anrooij (hey, she survived the big climbs in Avenir), Bradbury. Fisher-Black is definitely an option because she is really strong climbing and she could be allowed to escape because of the SD Worx numbers game and people not wanting to tow Vollering and co around, à la van Vleuten's earlier career stuff when on the same team as Vos. Ella Wyllie impressed me this season too.

Plus Sarah Gigante has from an outright physical standpoint some of the most elite tools of the young prospects, but the whole psychological thing could hold her back, I feel we need to see her picking up enough before I can consider her a legit threat along these kind of lines unfortunately, because at the moment she just feels like a probable lost talent. I hope she can turn it around and deliver on that promise.

Of the current generation and riders not mentioned, I'd love to say Liane Lippert but I just fear she still has that one bad day issue that makes her drop away; she needs the current type of route more than the likes of Realini and Shackley and co., but despite having been around a good long while, she's still only 25. Olivia Baril is a bit of a wildcard, especially for La Vuelta as she seems to gain extra watts when racing in Spain, and Justine Ghekiere as a late starter who has shown incredibly good outings and some solid GCs for somebody who's still relatively new to this.
ELB was my second choice purely on the fact that time might not be on her side, she will be in her 13th? pro season next year, of riders who are older than 30, only Reusser & Moolman Passio are in the list, and she always seems to suffer a run of bad luck of injuries, falls or sickness when shes well placed.

Absolutely Trek have the strength in depth to support any rider on their team well , but it feels more like Realini or van Anrooij will become their stand out stage race winners of the future, even though I think it will take both a couple more years yet to get there...which makes me wonder why they havent signed an interim GT rider or at least to double up like they have with the sprinters.

But i cant see anyone beating SD Worx at the moment, either Demi or Lotte, and since Demi cant be in the vote its got to be Lotte
Jun 19, 2023
If there is no TT in a GT, Realini and Fisher-Black (but not at SD Worx) can win a GT, otherwise they both lose to much time in the TT.

Clear favourites to win a GT in the near future are in my opinion ELB, Niewiadoma and Labous.

Mavi Garcia and AMP are propably not in their prime anymore and won't have a chance against the other riders to win a GT.

Kopecky surely suprised us all at the Tour. Will be interesting if she will give a chance at SD Worx to win a GT.

Reusser in my opinion can only win a GT if the climbs are not too step and not too long. Of course any TT in a GT will work in her favour.

From Marta Cavalli we will need to wait if she can provide the same results after her crash (2nd at the Giro before her heavy crash at the Tour 2022) . In 2023 she didn't had the best results.

Other riders who will propably provide good results in the future are: Shackley, Niedermayer, van Anrooij, Lippert, van Empel, Kerbaol and Wyllie.
Oh, and I didn't mention Églantine Rayer! Can't forget her.

Rayer has given me mixed signals this season, but since she's young and French, that should be expected.

Reusser in my opinion can only win a GT if the climbs are not too step and not too long. Of course any TT in a GT will work in her favour.

She'll definitely have a chance on a route like in this year's Giro Donne, but with a long-ish (and non-neutralised) ITT instead. I'm not yet convinced that a fully fit Chloé Dygert wouldn't be able to win one like that either. Question is though how many times we'll actually get to see a fully fit Dygert.
Dygert is not racing road for the rest of 2023 and she will have a limited profram in 2024 with the Olympics her major focus - she is definitely riding the TDF and possibly limited Classics - She will be hot property on the transfer market for 2025, especially once she's over the Olympics.