What's Cool In Road Cycling

The PEZ 2022 Young Guns: The Verdict

The Young Guns of 2022: Ed Hood always keeps his eyes on the new talent coming up through the peloton and this time last year he picked his eleven men to watch in 2022 – How did they get on?

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Juan Ayuso on the Vuelta podium with another young guy… Remco

Last winter we looked at the ‘Young Guns’ who we felt were going to be making the 2022 headlines. Did we get it right?

Let’s have a wander through the names:

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# Lewis Askey, 21 years-old, Groupama FDJ & GB: he came close to a big win with second place in the UCi 1.1 Classic Loire Atlantique and there were strong rides in Nokere Koerse – 13th and Paris-Bourges – 12th. A very solid but not spectacular season for the aggressive young man from Cannock.

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# Juan Ayuso, 20 years-old, UAE Team Emirates & Spain: if Askey’s season wasn’t ‘spectacular’ then 2021 Baby Giro’s full pro debut certainly was all of that with an overall podium finish in the Vuelta. He ‘ran hot’ from February where he took fourth in the tough UCi 1.Pro Drome Classic in France through his first pro win in the UCi 1.1 Circuito de Getxo in July to that Vuelta in September – small wonder UAE have him signed until 2028.

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# Filippo Baroncini, 22 years-old, Trek Segafredo & Italy: file the 2021 u23 World Champion’s season under ‘solid’ rather than spectacular with a brace of fifth places in his nation’s iTT and road race champs the hi-lites.

Marc Brustenga

# Marc Brustenga, 23 years-old, Trek Segafredo & Spain: a lack lustre year from the Spaniard proving that whilst some, like Ayuso, can seamlessly ease into the big league, some find it hard to accept that whilst they’re one of the top dozen u23’s around, in the World Tour peloton most of the riders are at their level, or above it.

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# Arnaud De Lie, 20 years-old, Lotto Soudal & Belgium: just the nine wins for the Walloon – the Belgian team deserve some luck and have signed a diamond with this young man. Should we pencil him in as 2023 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner?

Finn Fisher-Black

# Finn Fisher-Black, 21 years-old, UAE Team Emirates & New Zealand: we didn’t get to see the best of the former world junior pursuit record holder; a serious crash in the French, Boucle de la Mayenne stage race at the end of May saw him break his femur – his return to racing will come on January 17th in the Tour Down Under.

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# Luke Plapp, 22 years-old, INEOS Grenadiers & Australia: couldn’t have had a better start to his pro career, lifting the always hard fought Aussie road title in January. Top 10 in the tough Tour of Romandie, the podium in the Tour of Norway and getting round the Vuelta in one piece made for a very promising debut for the man from Melbourne.

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# Martin Svrcek, 19 years-old, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl & Slovakia: very successful as a junior, the Belgian team have him on a limited programme in deference to his age, 2023 should tell us more. . .

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# Ben Tulett, 21 years-old, INEOS Grenadiers & GB: INEOS used to have a reputation for using their young riders as slave labour for their ‘Bigs’ – no longer. The ‘young guns’ are given their head and with second on GC in Coppi e Bartali and fifth on GC in the Tour of Poland not to mention two excellent fifth place chronos in the Giro the team’s new policy is certainly paying off for this young man.

Cian Uijtdebroeks

# Cian Uijtdebroeks, 19 years-old, BORA – hansgrohe & Belgium: the ‘thinking man’s Remco’ quietly goes about his business – eighth in the Tour of Norway, third in the Sibiu Tour and an outstanding winner of the Tour de l’Avenir. The only surprise is that BORA don’t have him on a five year deal already – but perhaps they’ve already tried to and he realises that if his current trajectory continues then he’ll be worth much more by the end of 2023?

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# Ethan Vernon, 22 years-old, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl: A stage win in Catalonia, two in the Tour of Slovakia and a whole raft of top placings – that’ll do nicely.

All in all, we didn’t do too badly with our predictions – but who did we overlook?

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# Roman Gregoire, 19 years-old, Equipe continentale Groupama FDJ & France: through mid-April into early May he put together four straight wins in top line u23 races – Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Giro del Belvedere, GP Palio del Recioto and Flèche Ardennaise.
A raft of wins and podiums followed and a World Tour contract was inevitable.

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# Olav Kooij, 21 years-old, Jumbo Visma & The Netherlands: already one of the fastest around with 12 wins and a further six podiums – enough said!

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# Oscar Onley, 20 years-old, Development Team DSM & Scotland: any doubts that he’d be moving up to the World Tour DSM team for 2023 were dispelled with a brace of second places to Tour de France winner Vingegaard in hill top duels in the CRO stage race. His contract runs until 2027 – a ‘canny Scot’ for sure.

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# Carlos Rodriguez, 21 years-old, INEOS Grenadiers & Spain: another young man, ‘given his head,’ by INEOS. Third in Valenciana back in February, he took the national title in June, battled to seventh in a crash compromised Vuelta and finished the year with fifth in il Lombardia. Along with Ayuso he gives Spanish cycling much to be optimistic about.

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# Magnus Sheffield, 20 years-old, INEOS Grenadiers & USA: another excellent piece of recruitment by the British team. He won the highly prestigious Brabantse Pijl and took stages in Andalucía and Denmark where he finished second on GC. There was also that spectacular chute in the Worlds iTT when a medal looked well possible. A big star in the making.

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# Mattias Skjelmose, 22 years-old, Trek Segafredo & Denmark: the 2021 season was promising but in 2022 he delivered; third on GC in la Provence, Tour de Wallonie and Tour of Denmark, he was second on GC in the Tour de l’Ain then won the Tour of Luxembourg. A Grand Tour winner in waiting?

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# Sam Watson, 21 years-old, Equipe continentale Groupama FDJ: winner of the u23 Gent-Wevelgem and second only to an inspired ‘Cav’ in a windswept British Elite Road Race Championship the ultra-aggressive Watson moves up to the World Tour FDJ team for 2023.

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Who is the next Remco?

# Look forward to rule books being torn up in 2023 and the continuing march of, ‘The Young Guns.’

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