- Age 34
- Joined team in January, 2023
Lotta Henttala, the 33-year-old Finnish rider returns to the professional peloton after having her son Olavi in January 2022. Lotta's love for cycling goes back many years. At a young age, she became the Finnish junior champion in 2006. In the following years she was repeatedly Finnish champion on the road and in the time trial. In 2016, she won the bronze medal twice at the World Championships in the team time trial and on the road.
Henttala is a powerful sprinter who has previously won races like Gent-Wevelgem and Vårgårda but admits coming back to the pro peloton next year is a new yet exciting adventure to undertake.
“It’s an exciting challenge coming back from a very low level. It’s going to be a discovery to see how far I can take this. Women’s cycling is so exciting at the moment and I would love to be part of that again. I have been following it closely as Eurosport commentator and the level is high! Things are changing so fast and I want to be part of that change too. Races like Paris-Roubaix would be a dream to ride and hopefully I will be ready to do that already next year, if not in 2024.”
Henttala had qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo but couldn’t ride because of her pregnancy. When she got back on the bike a few months after having her son she felt that familiar tingle again.
“I was enjoying myself on the bike again. I never told anyone I retired officially but it’s also known that I struggled mentally for a while. That is now behind me. My perspective has changed. Of course, I am very ambitious for this new start to succeed and I have Paris on my mind because it’s such a great, flat course but I also always know that for Olavi it doesn’t matter whether I come last or first.
I am a different person because my son is always number one in my life. Still, I would love to be first, or at least help the team achieve their goals. AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step is a talented group and I can’t wait to meet them all, and to be reunited with Ashleigh.”
Lotta plays an important role in this team and will not only share her experience on the bike, but also her life experience with the young riders of this team.