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Cyniscas Reflect on 2023 Season

2023 kicked off the inaugural racing season for Cynisca Cycling. Our mission is to help our young athletes excel in the top tiers of cycling. The team had some great results and also learned a lot along the way. Below, a few of the riders shared some reflections from the season and thoughts on next year.

Émilie Fortin

“In 2020, I came to Europe by passion. In 2021, I had a really hard time, no results, lots of learning. In 2022, I started my season in the French cups with a 50km solo breakaway… only to get caught within 3km from the line. I had never won a race. This year with Cynisca Cycling, I won my second race, my first pro win 🤯! It’s safe to say that 2023 was my best season yet.

A big shoutout to @shimanoroad for trusting us, as a new team, with all of their best gear: components, shoes, helmets (@lazersport) and glasses. “

NOTE: Despite a mid-season illness, Émilie had some great results in addition to her win at the Classica de Almeria. She represented her country in the May Pan American Road Cycling Championships in Panama, finished 3rd in GC in the Walmart Joe Martin Classic, stood on the podium three times and had five top ten finishes. She looks forward to a healthy and even better 2024! Check out her end-of-the-year reflection video below that she shared on her Instagram feed.

Ashley Frye

“First season of being a pro and first year of road racing in the books. I did it and I’m happy to say that I am not the same cyclist as I was back in January. I’ve grown soooo much, I think more than I even realize.

My first race was back in February, when I raced the Vuelta CV Feminas, in Spain. I remember being so overwhelmed and anxious the entirety of the race and just finishing was an accomplishment. My second race was Le Samyn des Dames (last pic lol) where I didn’t get to finish the race and called my mom afterward telling her that I can’t do this. I left Europe the first time a bit down, overwhelmed, and honestly scared to go back, but then came the US races.

In the US, we did the thing. Redlands, Sea Otter, Gila, and Joe Martin all gave me a huge boost of confidence. Of course, the more you race the more you get comfortable in the peloton and all the things don’t feel so overwhelming anymore. I started to be able to shift my mindset from just trying to get through the race to being able to actually compete. I went back to Europe for a mini block to again get my teeth knocked in, BUT not as bad as the last time, and once Nationals came around I was excited!! I got to compete with the best US girlies and it happened. I was there.

I then headed back off to Europe for the third time this season where I competed in multiple day stage races and one day races. I finally started to see my progress moving from just surviving, to actually being IN the race. I left this season feeling confident going into the next. Excited and giddy to take all that I’ve learned into next year. I’m not satisfied and far from it.

Every race had its ups and downs and I experienced all the emotions this season, but I care and I care about this sport.

Thank you so much to Cynisca Cycling for taking me on as a wildcard and believing in me. Thank you to all the staff for the amazing support. AND of course, thank you to my amazing teammates 🫶🏼”

NOTE: Ashley had some amazing results this year as a first year racer. She had the highest average placement of all riders on the team and was the most consistent. She had 17 top twenty and six top ten finishes, two podiums and one win. And most of all, she brought an extremely positive attitude and encouragement to her teammates.

Greta Richioud

“The season was rich in learning with Cynisca for its year of creation. We finished the season on a good note, and I can’t wait to attack 2024 with this even stronger team.”

NOTE: Greta provided the team with leadership and shared her knowledge with younger riders. Greta posted three top ten finishes, including a 4th place at the Giro Toscana and a top 20 at the difficult Tour of Ardeche seven-day stage race, where she was a crowd favorite. Here’s some favorite.

Cara O’Neill

“It’s exciting to say I’ve wrapped up my first season as a pro. Looking back on the season I am incredibly thankful for the team staff at the races and behind the scenes, the support of our sponsors, and for my teammates giving me the opportunity to be a part of something special. I’m looking forward to pulling together everything I learned this season and doing it all again in 2024.”

NOTE: Although this was Cara’s first year as a pro, she was a wonderful asset to the team, often providing coaching and advice to those with less experience on the bike. She started the season with an injury but was able work her way back into good health and a strong second-half of the season.

Claire Windsor

“2023 season has come to an end and marks my first year as a “professional” cyclist. I use quotation marks because this new part of my life still seems like a dream. It’s far from a dream come true yet as I have no results behind my name, but this lifestyle and opportunity to focus my entire day around riding my bike … definitely a dream come true.

While my season does not look like much based on results, I know there has been a lot of positive growth since this time last year. I spent February through October racing and training injury free with only a few sick days. I learned how to race as a team at a whole new level with such skilled and talented teammates. I went from purely surviving each race to contributing to my teammate’s successes and being an active participant. One day things will really start clicking, but I have learned that patience and positivity are key for long term success. Thank you to everyone in the Cynisca Cycling family for supporting and believing in me. 💙🤍🧡

Now time to rest and recover from racing with some much needed quality time with family and friends in England. Soon enough I will be “home” home in the USA to kick off 2024 preparation!

NOTE: While Claire writes that her “season does not look like much based on results …” her teammates would beg to differ. Claire always worked to get her teammates the right placement in races and was a consistent team player. At US Nationals, she was the rider who knew the course best and shared her knowledge with her team. The team looks forward to her second year with us as a pro.

Mara Roldan

“I think the best thing to compare my 2023 season to would be a roller coaster. In just a few months, I got to experience some of the biggest highs and biggest lows of my 19-year-old life. From a double hand fracture to completing my first big stage race not even 2 months after the fracture… and then going from taking the start in my first elite European road stage race to being caught in a crash on stage 1 and finishing the day in the hospital. This season has tested me mentally and physically time and time again but has taught me valuable lessons that I believe have made me stronger in the process. Having had the opportunity to join a team like Cynisca Cycling and test the waters in the European pro-women’s peloton has motivated me so much to keep working hard and improving so that I can be the best teammate and racer possible in the upcoming season. I look forward to tackling next year alongside my Cynisca teammates, and getting to put this year’s learning to practice! 2024 here we come!”  

NOTE: Cynisca was fortunate to have Mara join the team as a stagiaire. A stagiaire is a trainee or apprentice bike racer who joins a professional team from August 1 until the end of that current season.

  • Brandon Frye

    October 31st 2023

    Great read! thank you for the updates

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