Olympic champion Anna Kiesenhofer linked to return to full-time racing in Jérôme Pineau’s team

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Olympic champion Anna Kiesenhofer could return to professional racing with Jérôme Pineau’s B&B Hotels team in 2023, provided the team can find the funds to race next season.

BikeNews understands Kiesenhofer wants to race full-time again and is one of 12 riders on the French squad, which is expected to include French champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot.

Pineau announced in the summer that he hoped to strengthen his squad’s finances and add a women’s team as well as a development setup with reports on a budget of around €20m. However, the team’s future is uncertain as Pineau waits to hear from major backers over the next week.

Kiesenhofer was thrust into the global spotlight last season after surprising the favorites with a dramatic solo win in the Tokyo Olympics road race. She was part of an early breakaway and held off a late chase from Annemiek van Vleuten to win the gold medal.

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The Austrian rider had spent a year as a professional with Lotto Soudal in 2017 but decided to take a step back from the sport at the end of that year. She continued to race but divided her time between cycling and her career as a mathematician and teacher.

After his victory in Tokyo, Kiesenhofer took a step back from his career in mathematics at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and ran more frequently.

She made an appearance at the Challenge by La Vuelta in September for the Soltec team, which was seen as something of a test before a potential return to full-time racing. Kiesenhofer nearly repeated her Olympic victory with a 155 kilometer solo breakaway on Stage 4, although she was caught with 1.5 kilometers to go.

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