Quantifying a rider’s impact on their team comes down to several factors. Did they pick up some victories themselves? Were they constantly on the attack in a Grand Tour like the Tour de France getting TV time for the sponsors? Or maybe they picked up victory in a monument.
These were all questions that we asked ourselves when looking back on the campaign just gone.
So many riders made a difference.
Some achieved huge victories at the first time of asking, others went above and beyond and helped their new teammates to do the same. Others also finally achieved their stage race potential that they had been promising for so long.
Here are our top nine signings that made an impact in the men’s and women’s WorldTour in 2022.
Aussie Grace Brown has had a stunning year with new FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope team after spending two years with her native Mitchelton-Scott squad.
The 30-year-old’s success was all year long, and started with her taking the honors in the women’s time trial at the Australian National Championships, as well as finishing second in the road race. After that, Brown achieved seventh at the Tour of Flanders and then finished second at Liège–Bastogne–Liège in April.
Her scintillating form continued as she finished second overall to Elisa Longo Borghini at the Women’s Tour before winning gold in the women’s time trial at the Commonwealth Games.
Brown then took a stage win at the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta in August, before finishing second in the time trial at the World Championships in her native Australia.
Some season indeed.
Hindley finished second at the rearranged Giro in 2020 by literally seconds to Ineos Grenadiers’ Tao Geohagen Hart, and was then forced to withdraw from the 2021 edition on stage 13. Clearly feeling he had a score to settle at the Italian Grand Tour, Hindley returned in the colors of his new German Bora-Hansgrohe team with a vengeance.
Coming into the Giro, the Aussie had finished fifth at Tyrrhenian-Adriatic. Once the Giro was underway, his sparkling form was then clear for all to see when he outsprinted all of the other favorites to take an impressive stage win on the iconic Blockhaus mountain.
After being teed up by teammate Lennard Kämna, Hindley then snatched the Maglia Rosa, or pink jersey, from the shoulders of Richard Carapaz with a daring late attack on the Marmolada pass on the penultimate stage to ensure he’d lift the Giro trophy in Verona the following day.
After consistently flying under the radar at Cofidis, Frenchman Christophe Laporte really took next level after signing for Jumbo-Visma.
Laporte was instrumental in Jumbo-Visma’s dominance at Paris-Nice, crossing the line first in the team’s spectacular 1-2-3 on the opening stage. He then ensured that team leaders Wout van Aert went Primozh Roglich were kept out of trouble for the rest of the week, with the latter taking the overall win. He then set up his teammate Van Aert for victory at the E3 Saxo Bank Classicbefore finishing in second place again at Gent-Wevelgem.
The former Cofidis man went on to play a huge part in his team’s sensational Tour de France victory from Jonas Vingegaardhelping to keep the team’s leader safe through the flatter stages as well as occasionally being present in the mountains.
Laporte was rewarded by being given his own chance to shine on stage 19, capping a superb three weeks for Jumbo as he spoiled the party for the sprinters, taking the stage 19 victory in Cahors. The Frenchman then won a silver medal in the road race at the World Championships in September.
SD Worx know how to conduct a shrewd bit of business, and in signing Marlen Reusser they got one of the pre-eminent rouleurs of the women’s peloton. Despite only being on the Women’s WorldTour for a year, the Swiss rider was hot property, and she played a crucial role for the Dutch super team throughout the year.
As well as being a top ally for her starrier teammates, Reusser won one stage four of the inaugural Tour de France Femmes, one of only two riders that won a stage who weren’t Dutch. The fact she did it in such a storming way over the gravel sectors, finishing the day off with a 23.1km solo attack shows how valuable she was lei and is to her team.
Reusser went on to win the time trial at the European Championships and then help her team to mixed relay gold at the World Championships. One feels there’s more to come from the Swiss time trial specialist.
Many questioned Soler’s move from Movistar to his new team, although the Spaniard vindicated his transfer from his old stomping ground with a memorable stage win in UAE colors at the Vuelta a España.
Furthermore, Soler was consistently on the attack throughout the entire three weeks, and went close to stage victories on other occasions. Ultimately he was rewarded for his efforts with the prize for the most combative rider.
Soler’s climbing brilliance also helped to ensure a third overall for his young fellow Spanish teammate, Juan Ayuso.
Last year was special for Kopecky, as she took victories in both the female road race and time trial at the Belgian National Championships as well as Le Samyn. She also came second at the women’s edition of Gent-Wevelgem.
However, moving to SD Worx saw Kopecky well and truly take her performances to the next level. This year the Belgian retained her title as Belgian time trial champion, before she then took a stunning win at the Tour of Flanders, something which cemented her position as a home favourite.
Prior to that Kopecky, had already won the female edition of Strade Bianche and the rest of the spring saw her finish second to Eliso Longo Borghini at Paris Roubaix.
Later in the year, Kopecky won an outstanding silver medal in the road race at the World Championships in Australia. She will be one to watch once again next spring when the Classics come back around.
Tiesj Benoot was part of the new signing double-act at Jumbo-Visma, playing an equally as starring role as his fellow new signing Laporte in their new team’s success this campaign.
Bringing in Benoot along with Laporte was a shrewd bit of business by the Jumbo top brass, and the 28-year-old delivered.
The former White Roads winner finished second at Dwars door Vlaanderen in the Spring, before finishing third at the Amstel Gold race. Not quite the coveted classics wins that he may have hoped for, but solid results nonetheless.
Later on in the Spring, the all-rounder played a huge role in ensuring that Wout van Aert took the win at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, but it was the Tour de France where he really shone.
On the final climb of stage four before the run into Calais, both Benoot and Laporte moved to the front of the peloton and put in a stinging two-up attack that launched teammate Van Aert to a stunning stage victory in the yellow jersey.
Trek-Segafredo’s Elisa Balsam had yet another fantastic year on both the road and track.
The 24-year-old Italian joined her fellow countrywoman, Elisa Longo Borghini, at Trek this year and didn’t look back. On the road Balsamo took the victory in the women’s Italian national championships. She was also on fire throughout the spring, winning the female edition of Gent-Wevelgem, a race she had finished fourth at the year before.
As well as that, Balsamo also took two stage wins at the Women’s Tour and finished eighth in the Amstel Gold Race.
On the track Balsamo was part of the victorious Italian team pursuit squad at the Track World Championships.
Young American Magnus Sheffield was riding for Rally Cycling in 2021 but was offered a dream move to Ineos Grenadiers for 2022.
A big step up, but one which the 20-year-old American certainly relished. In his debut season with Ineos, Sheffield won Brabantse Pijl at the first time of asking, and was consistently in the thick of the action during some of the early spring classics.
As well as his big win in Belgium, Sheffield also took a resounding victory on stage three of the Vuelta a Andalucia and finished a highly respectable second in the men’s time trial at the US national championships.
The Ineos man will certainly be one to watch in 2023.