When Danielle De Francesco lined up with Zaaf Biking Workforce on the Tour Down Underneath in January to make her worldwide debut with the Spanish squad she rapidly stood out as a savvy signing. The Australian demonstrated that she was clearly one of many new batch of neo-pros to look at carefully, ending fourth on two phases and in addition snaring sixth total at her first Ladies’s WorldTour race.
It’s no shock then that the 29-year-old, who can deal with the climbs in addition to ship a quick end, has now discovered a brand new residence regardless of being put within the troublesome state of affairs of needing to discover a new contract mid-season.
For French group, Arkéa Professional Biking, there was a silver lining on the cloud of Zaaf turmoil.
The previous triathlete turned her focus to biking two years in the past and, after profitable the Nationwide Street Collection in Australia with ARA Professional Racing Sunshine Coast in 2022, rapidly inserted herself among the many finest riders within the worldwide peloton in 2023. Given the puncheur now sits at 84th within the UCI rankings she shall be becoming a member of Arkéa as its top-ranked rider and doing it with time to settle in forward of the group’s largest race of the season.
“My dream would after all be to participate within the Tour de France this summer season, and to assist the Arkéa Professional Biking Workforce to realize nice performances on this occasion, which has grow to be a reference within the skilled ladies’s peloton, but additionally to place myself within the highlight. each time I may on the opposite occasions on the calendar that we should compete in,” stated De Francesco in a launch from her new group.
Arkéa is among the many 5 groups awarded wildcard invites to race the Tour de France Femmes, alongside the robotically invited 15 Ladies’s WorldTour squads and prime two Continental groups.
De Francesco appears a certain choice, given her outcomes to this point this season additionally embrace prime 5 finishes on the Australian Nationwide Championships in each the street race and time trial, in addition to fifth on the Cadel Evans Nice Ocean Street Race. She additionally took to the rostrum at a time trial on the Vuelta Extremadura Féminas and captured sixth place total on the race, gained by her new teammate Megan Armitage.
De Francesco went on the escape with Armitage as that occasion, and within the course of drew the eye of Franck Renimel, Arkéa sports activities director. Now she is going to make her debut with the group, who was so just lately a rival, on the Grand Prix du Morbihan on Saturday Could 6 on residence territory for the squad.
“I actually wish to thank Arkéa Professional Biking Workforce for this excellent alternative supplied to me,” stated De Francesco. “I am actually wanting ahead to debuting in my new colors, to being a full a part of this group, in Brittany as effectively, on the Grand Prix du Morbihan.”
Quite a lot of De Francesco’s former Zaaf teammates have signed with new groups, with riders given exemptions to maneuver exterior the switch window given the extenuating circumstances. Audrey Cordon-Ragot signed with Human Powered Well being proper earlier than Paris-Roubaix, Lucie Jounier with Workforce Coop-Hitec and Mareille Meijering with Movistar. Franz has signed with DNA Professional Biking and Elizabeth Stannard with Israel Premier Tech.
New Zealand’s Michaela Drummond had additionally been hoping to line up on the Vuelta Femenina with group Farto-BTC this week however wasn’t in a position to. The Spanish Biking Federation have stated that authorized points are complicating rider transfers to different Spanish groups because the Federation is unable to permit riders to race with a brand new group below its juristiction till they’ve formally ended their contract with Zaaf.
In signing with a French group De Francesco has averted this situation because it doesn’t apply to groups primarily based exterior Spain or WorldTour squads, as in these instances the registrations are accepted by different federations or the UCI.