Ruth Edwards to return to the WorldTour with move to Human Powered Health

American, née Winder, back in peloton as team recruits Giorgia Bronzini as sports director

Clock15:54, Friday 20th October 2023
Ruth Edwards won a stage and wore the pink jersey in the 2021 Giro d'Italia Donne

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Ruth Edwards won a stage and wore the pink jersey in the 2021 Giro d'Italia Donne

Two-time US national champion Ruth Edwards, better known by her maiden name Ruth Winder, is set to make a return to the WorldTour peloton in 2024, signing a contract with American squad Human Powered Health.

The 30-year-old officially stopped European racing at the end of 2021, and has been racing gravel in the US for two seasons. She recently confirmed her intention to return to road racing in an interview with Velo, and this week it was confirmed that her return will be in Human Powered Health colours.

“This is an exciting new adventure for me,” Edwards said about her new start in the professional peloton.

“I don’t think I had a plan necessarily. I was just really missing it and it has been fun to watch women’s cycling grow and for me in particular, I thought I’d just rather live without any regrets.”

Read more: Pro cycling transfers - every move for the 2024 season

Starting her pro career in 2014, Edwards rode for UnitedHealthcare, Team Sunweb, and most recently Trek-Segafredo between 2019 and 2021.

Before stopping road racing in 2021 - something she now refers to as a “sabbatical” rather than a retirement - she racked up an impressive list of results, including winning Brabantse Pijl ahead of Demi Vollering in her final season, plus stage wins at the Giro d’Italia Donne and Tour Down Under.

During her two years away, Edwards has been racing gravel in the Life Time Grand Prix series and enjoying life in Colorado, and hopes to return to the peloton with a refreshed view on road racing.

“Hopefully I will be able to use what I’ve learned about myself to be a better athlete,” she said. “In the past, the never-ending cycle of racing meant that I just needed to be home and then I realised how much I loved racing my bike. I felt that a lot of my identity was tied to it, and I didn’t know what would happen if I stopped racing my bike. Now, with Human Powered Health I can go back and feel secure and that this is something I love to do.

“It means that when I stop again, my life will always be there, and I don’t have to be scared to leave and I think that’s really powerful to be here 100 percent.”

Giorgia Bronzini arrives as sports director

As well as Edwards, who is expected to be the first in a handful of new rider signings for Human Powered Health, the team have also recruited former pro and experienced director Giorgia Bronzini.

After retiring at the end of 2018, former world champion Bronzini has worked as a director for Liv Racing TeqFind for the last two seasons, but is not part of the team’s merger with Jayco-AlUla. Instead, she will take up a role at Human Powered Health for 2024, her sixth year as a sports director.

“This is a new challenge for me and I’m very excited to join Human Powered Health Cycling as I see a lot of potential,” Bronzini said. “I look forward to meeting the riders, understanding their tactical skills, and being a good guide for them.

“Next season will be a year to lay the groundwork and grow. Beyond that, anything is possible. I’m here to help develop a winning culture and invest energy into something that we believe.”

The arrivals of Edwards and Bronzini are part of a wider project of expansion at the Human Powered Health women’s team, who will now be their sole squad with the men’s arm folding at the end of 2023.

Read more: Human Powered Health men’s team set to fold

Founded in 2012, the team started as a primarily US-based squad, but stepped up to the WorldTour in 2022. They have been smaller players in a big field, floating around the lower end of the WorldTour rankings, but are planning to “expand in scope, size, and capability” ahead of the next round of promotions and relegations.

“Moving forward, we aim to advance our Women’s WorldTeam to stand among the very best in the world,”  team managing partner Charles Aaron said, whilst general manager Ro de Jonckere pointed to the Tour de France Femmes as a key moment in the expansion of women’s cycling.

“The growth of races, media coverage, and rider salaries for women in this sport was long overdue, and we see a great foundation to build upon from here,” De Jonckere said.

How specifically Human Powered Health plan to realise this commitment to advancing their women’s team is not yet clear, but signing Edwards, Bronzini and more new arrivals, plus expected new partnerships, appear to be the basis.

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