The Best Cyclist Stories to Follow in 2024
Meet seven women and seven men to pay attention to in the 2024 season.
We're aboard the on-ramp to the cycling season, as Australia's 'summer of cycling' is over, the training block is wrapping up, and the real racing is about to commence. Whether you're here for everything, just the big classics, or maybe only the Tour de France, it's a great time to get up to speed for what is to come in the 2024 season.
We got selective and picked out seven who are worth attention no matter how you choose to consume the sport. Be sure to give these athletes a follow, their Instagram accounts are linked. Feel free to check us out on Instagram as well!
Welsford has won multiple world-championships on the track and held the Men's Team Pursuit World Record. After his successful track career, he joined Team DSM for the 2022 season at the age of 25. In his first two years as a professional he won five Pro races. In 2024 he joins BORA-Hansgrohe and by the end of January has already won 3 World-Tour stages.
This is the best Australian rider right now.
Look at that, another young Dutch sensation.
Back in 2022, this young Dutch sensation dominated the Dutch junior cycling scene, clinching the Dutch junior championship in both the road race and time trial. Which really is enough for us to know she's going to be special. Not stopping there, she conquered the Spanish Bizkaikoloreak competition overall. At the World Championships in Wollongong she took third in the u23 event.
Fast forward to 2023, she moves to Team DSM-Firmenich's. That season, she impressed with a seventh-place finish in the Tour of the Future, also snagging second in the young rider classification.
The momentum has continued in 2024, where she has already claimed second in the general classification at the Tour Down Under, and winning the young rider classification.
Here's to hoping Team DSM give Nienke's plenty of opportunity to win on smaller stages throughout 2024, paving the way for her to conquer the grand stages in 2025.
At the age of 17, Pithie secured dual gold medals in the Madison and Omnium at the UCI Junior World Championships. Making his professional debut in 2023, he claimed a professional win in his inaugural Pro season. Fast forward to 2024, and the 21-year-old Pithie has already notched a prestigious World-Tour win at Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. He is a rising star in the Southern Hemisphere.
Gigante made a significant mark in 2018 by winning multiple national junior championships and securing a silver medal at the Junior World Track Championships. In 2019, she became the Australian Elite Womens National Champion.
In 2022, with Movistar, she won her first European win at the Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa, but Movistar didn't give her the race days she needed to build on her incredible success as a junior. Joining AG Insurance–Soudal in 2024, Gigante earned her first World-Tour win at the Women's Tour Down Under.
She may miss opportunities as she learns to navigate the European peloton, but if she is fresh at the bottom of any climb, she is a chance to win it.
Isaac del Toro won the Youth, Mountains, Points, and General Classification at the 2023 Tour de 'Avenir. Not bad for 19 years of age. Heading into 2024 it looks like UAE are ready to test the young talent, and the 'Australian Summer of Cycling' was a great place to start. He leaves Australia with his first World-Tour victory, finished third on General Classification, and has hopefully earned himself a spot at the start line of some the Classics.
Introducing the cycling sensation, Rosita Reijnhout. At the of age of 19, Rosita clinched victory at the prestigious 2024 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. With a fearless approach embracing both wind and taking advantage of the peloton's hesitation, she claimed her first win as a cyclist and first professional win. Hailing from the powerhouse of cycling talent in the Netherlands, Rosita Reijnhout is yet another reminder that we should be taking as many lessons learned as possible from the Dutch cycling programs. Watch out for this teenage Dutch rider as she navigates her second professional year with Visma-Lease a Bike (Jumbo).
Meet the Danish powerhouse, Mattias Skjelmose Jensen, racing with UCI WorldTeam Lidl–Trek. Hailing from a nation known for its cycling prowess, Mattias is more than living up to the hype. Joining Trek-Segafredo in 2021, he hit the ground running, scoring sixth overall in the UAE Tour and snagging a sweet victory in the Tour de Luxembourg. The guy's got grit and speed, proven by his podium finish in La Flèche Wallonne and a Tour de Suisse triumph in 2023.
Ally Wollaston from AG Insurance-Soudal made a bold statement in the opening stage of the 2024 Tour Down Under, seizing a dominant sprint victory that immediately caught everyone's attention. Throughout the rest of the race, her formidable presence continued, showcasing undeniable strength. January wasn't just about road racing for Ally, as she seamlessly transitioned to the track, proudly representing New Zealand at the UCI Nations Cup. What a way to cap off the month - Ally swept all three gold medals, an extraordinary feat. At just 23 and in her fourth season with AG-Insurance (a team brimming with remarkable young talent), Ally Wollaston is on the brink of extraordinary success. Whether dominating the road or aiming for Olympic glory, Wollaston is undoubtedly a name you'll be hearing more of in the coming years.
Enter the cycling scene is Natnael Tesfatsion, a 23-year-old GC rider hailing from Africa. After cutting his teeth in Europe with Team Qhubeka (2019-2020), Tesfatsion truly made waves in 2021 and 2022, donning the colors of the Italian pro-continental Team Androni. This stint not only earned him a spot at the Giro d’Italia but drew the attention of World Tour teams. Now, a force to be reckoned with, Tesfatsion showcased his prowess at the 2024 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, narrowly missing the top spot but settling for a formidable second place behind Laurence Pithie.
Back in September 2018, it was announced that Marc Hirschi would be jumping on board with Team Sunweb for three years, kicking off in 2019. Fast forward to the 2020 Tour de France, where Hirschi not only snagged a stage win but also scooped up three combative rider awards and the overall Combativity title. Post-Tour vibes, he nabbed a bronze in the Men's road race at the Road World Championships and three days later would win La Flèche Wallonne. Come January 2021, he bid adieu to Team DSM, sealing the deal with a three-year gig at UAE Team Emirates.
He's on one of the biggest teams in the world, which limits the available opportunity at the biggest races, but look for Hirschi to make waves at every race he's at.
Despite announcing her retirement in July 2021, Ruth made a triumphant return after a two-year hiatus, showcasing her exceptional talent back where it all began. Kicking off 2024 with an outstanding performance at the Women's Tour Down Under, Ruth proved she's still a force to be reckoned with, possessing the prowess to clinch victories at the most prestigious races worldwide.
Meet Axel Laurance, the French cycling sensation, currently racing for UCI WorldTeam Alpecin–Deceuninck. Axel's journey into the pro scene was nothing short of impressive, snagging a solid second place at the 2022 Bretagne Classic Ouest–France in his rookie year. When his former team B&B Hotel-KTM folded (booooo), Alpecin-Deceuninck wasted no time recognising his talent, and now Axel's confidently rocking their colours. In 2023, after a gutsy breakaway of over 150 kilometres, Axel Laurance seized the title of Under 23 UCI World Champion in a road race.
At just 18, Neve Bradbury burst onto the Australian cycling scene, transitioning from a junior rider facing challenges to securing a spot in the WorldTour with Canyon-SRAM through the Zwift Academy. In her second year as a pro cyclist, the 20-year-old Victorian impressed by finishing 10th overall in the Giro Donne, showcasing her climbing prowess over the 10-stage tour. January 2024 marked a standout moment with Bradbury's performance at the Tour Down Under, establishing Bradbury as a premier Australian climber and an exceptional young talent. Surrounded by seasoned riders and mentors like Soraya Paladin and Tiffany Cromwell, she's positioned for continued growth and success within the cycling realm
After years of unwavering dedication, Holly Simonson's cycling journey reached a pinnacle at the 2023 Nationals, where she clinched her first national title in the criterium. Transitioning from a junior to an elite cyclist, Holly and teammate Emily Flynn honed their skills racing crits for the LA Sweat in the US, setting the stage for their success at Nationals. In 2024, Holly returns to the American professional criterium circuit with LA Sweat, aiming to build on her success in 2023. The team's journey extends beyond US borders, as they take on the Belgian kermis races, providing Holly with the same opportunity that once catapulted me into the professional peloton, albeit in the era of the trusty 3310.