The future is bright: At one time Britain was lucky to have one or two Continental pros fighting at the pointy end of the top races. Now there is a list of Grand Tour winners and a queue of riders in the wings. Ed Hood has listed his twelve ‘young guns’ to watch in 2021.
Cav and Wiggo were young, once upon a time
Wiggo is long gone; and sadly, so is Stevo Cummings; and despite Cav ‘rolling away the stone’ in the GP Monseré the other day, like the song says; ‘It’s Only a Matter of Time;’ the Froome Dog too has the man with the scythe on his shirt tails; and at 34 year-of-age even Geraint’s biggest wins may well be behind him.
The Yates brothers: No longer on the same team, but still to be watched
True, British enthusiasts have the like of Hugh Carthy, the Yates Bruvs, Owain Doull, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Luke Rowe, Ben and Connor Swift and Dan McLay to enthuse over. But what of the future for Brit race fans? Well, like that other song says; ‘The Future’s so Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.’ The emerging young British talent is hugely encouraging for the next decade; we decided to hi-lite our ’12 for 21’. . .
Much more to come from Tao Gaoghegan Hart
Lewis Askey (19) Equipe Continentale Groupama-FDJ: a winner of the junior Paris-Roubaix in 2018, he rounded off last season with a top 10 in the u23 Paris-Tours and was highly visible in the recent GP Monseré and one of the, ‘heros du jour’ in that race. And he’s not a bad ‘cross rider either, with a top 20 in the 2020 European u23 Championships.
Lewis Askey – Groupama-FdJ Conti team
Stuart Balfour (23) Swiss Racing Academy, continental team: at the end of 2020 the Scot took two top 10 stage places and a seventh on GC in the highly rated UCI 2.2 Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc; then a stage win and second on final GC in the GP Pays de Montbeliard – both races taking place in la Belle France. This year, with the Fabian Cancellara endorsed, Swiss racing Academy team he’s already put up a strong showing in the Faun-Ardeche Classic.
Stuart Balfour now with the Swiss Racing Academy
Simon Carr (22) EF Education-Nippo: his very strong showing in the recent Strade Bianche where he finished in 11th place in a group which came oh so close to catching the ‘Royal’ group at the front came as a surprise to many. But not if you’re a PEZ reader, we interviewed the man two seasons ago. Definitely a young man with a future.
Simon Car on the wheel of another ‘young gun’ Ben Tulett
Ethan Hayter (22) INEOS Grenadiers: a hugely talented track rider with multiple British, European and World titles; stage wins in the Baby Giro and Tour de l’Avenir guaranteed that the World Tour would snap him up. Last season he won the Giro dell Appennino and was on the podium in the Memorial Pantani and Giro dell Toscana – enough said.
Ethan Hayter won the Giro dell Appennino
Calum Johnston (23) Caja Rural – Seguros RGA Development Team: a ‘Zappi man’ last season for whom he scored a Baby Giro top 12 on GC, this year he moves to Spain. He’s yet to race in 2021 but his climber’s build should suit an environment where there are few ‘sprinter-friendly’ races.
Calum Johnston – Spanish bound
Oscar Onley (19) Development Team DSM – UCi Continental: last year he was with AG2R ‘feeder’ squad, Van Rysel AG2R La Mondiale but Sunweb, as was, now DSM snapped him up to join their ‘Keep Challenging’ campus in Sittard, Limburg where excellent facilities include coaches, nutritionists and a gym. He was DNF after a crash in the GP Monseré but we look forward to seeing him in action again soon.
Oscar Onley Developing with DSM
Tom Pidcock (21) INEOS Grenadiers: he’s been a World Cyclo-Cross Champion, a World Time Trial Champion, a World MTB Champion, a World eBike Champion, won the Baby Giro and even won British track and criterium titles. Third at Kuurne and fifth in the Strade Bianche this season tells us all we need to know – a Phenomenon.
Tom Pidcock – What can you say
Oliver Robinson (21) Lviv Continental Cycling Team: a man who’s been on the tough Belgian kermis scene for a while now and shared podiums with the likes of Sep Vanmarcke. His recent top 20 finish in the GP Monseré caught our eye, his team is Ukrainian – hard core, for sure.
Oliver Robinson mixing it with the stars
Jake Stewart (21) Groupama FDJ: another man who came up with GB through the velodromes – I watched him win the u23 Berlin Six Day back in 2017. Last year he was with the FDJ development team but Marc Madiot recognises talent when he sees it and this year the man from Coventry is on the World Tour squad. He’s paid back the team’s faith with fourth on GC in the Étoile des Bessèges and a magnificent second place in Het Nieuwsblad.
Jake Stewart – Did well in Bessèges
Ben Tulett (19) Alpecin-Fenix: a former double Junior World Cyclo-Cross Champion and British Junior Road Race Champion he’s now a team mate of Mathieu Van Der Poel on this highly successful ProTeam. He’s had a top 20 in the tough Faun Ardeche Classic to his name this year thus far.
Ben Tulett on MvdP’s team
Matt Walls (22) BORA-hansgrohe: and another ‘man of the boards’ with multiple British and European titles to his name and third in the 2020 Omnium Worlds. Stage wins in the Baby Giro, Paris-Arras and Flèche du Sud meant the World Tour would come calling; with the German team signing him on a three year deal. He’s started this season with two top seven finishes in the Tour de la Provence and Nokere Koerse on March 17th is his next chance to shine.
Matt Walls – Strong in the GP Industria e Artigianato
Fred Wright (21) Bahrain Victorious: was Jake Stewart’s partner in crime in that u23 Berlin Six Day win I mentioned earlier. Another man who knows his way round a track with British and European titles. A very strong season 2019 with numerous wins in Belgium plus Baby Giro and Tour de l’Avenir stages saw him with the World Tour squad for 2020 with whom he rode and finished the Vuelta. He has the Tours of Provence and UAE under his 2021 belt and lines up for Tirreno-Adriatico, this week.
WorldTour for Fred Wright
All good news for the forthcoming seasons for British fans, if we could only get rid of this damn Covid thing. . .
The next-next generation?