The Top Ten + 1 ‘Young Guns’ For 2022
The New Guys in the Peloton: Another season and a new tranche of young professional riders in the peloton. Ed Hood has been keeping his eyes on the ‘young guns’ and gives us his TOP 11 all under 22.
Pros seem to be getting younger
They say that you know when you’re getting old when the policemen start to look like kids. The same applies to pro cyclists, in recent years the big teams have been catching them younger than ever. We thought we’d have a look at 11 [11 is half of 22, right?] of the most promising young WorldTour recruits for 2022, albeit some of them have already been blooded as stagiaires in 2021; but this is their first full WorldTour season.
Marc Brustenga – A Spanish Classicsman
Marc Brustenga – 22 years-old, Spain, signed with Trek Segafredo on the back of five wins and a raft of placings, mostly in Spain but also France where he won the Boucles de l’Essor.
The man himself says;
“For me, to sign with Trek-Segafredo is a dream come true. Since I was little, my objective was to reach the top level of cycling, and now I have that possibility. I have worked hard for years to reach the WorldTour, and now that I have, it feels unreal. I chose Trek-Segafredo after speaking with Markel [Irizar], and he explained the project and ideas that the Team has for the next years. I liked the sound of it a lot, and I also have seen that there is a really nice atmosphere inside the Team amongst the riders and staff. It’s one of the biggest teams in the world, and I hope to be able to learn in the races I like the most, the Classics. With these experienced teammates, I will have this chance. My aims are to help the Team, doing what they ask of me, and to have fun as that is also important for me. Above all, I want to learn from my more experienced colleagues to be able to apply these lessons in my future.”
Filippo Baroncini – U23 World champion
Filippo Baroncini – 21 years-old, Italy, also signed with Trek Segafredo. Baroncini is current u23 World Road Race Champion and as a stagiaire with Trek Segafredo has already found his feet at Elite level with fourth place in the Coppa Sabatini behind Michael Valgreen. He’s also Italian u23 Time Trial Champion and took stages in the Baby Giro and L’Etoile d’Or. Precocious for sure but not all amateur/u23 world champs can make the grade at the top level albeit in recent years the ‘conversion rate’ is good with the likes of Matthews, Démare, Mohorič, Cosnefroy and Hirschi all performing strongly.
Ethan Veron – With the best team
Ethan Vernon – 21 years-old, GB, signed with Quick-Step – Alpha Vinyl Team. Originally a prolific collector of British junior track titles and medals, his 2021 Tour de l’Avenir stage win and Worlds u23 iTT top 10 have earned him a place with the WorldTour’s most successful single day team.
Finn Fisher-Black – From Jumbo to UAE and only 21
Finn Fisher-Black – 21 years-old, New Zealand, signed with UAE Team Emirates; former holder of the junior 3,000 metres pursuit World record. He was with Jumbo Visma’s development team until the end of June 2021 when UAE snapped him up on a deal which stretches to 2024, having seen him win the Istrian Spring Trophy stage race in Croatia then finish fourth in the Tour of Belgium after a very strong time trial stage where only Remco and Yves Lampaert could best him.
Luke Plapp – Already a winner in 2022
Luke Plapp – 21 years-old, Australia, signed with INEOS Grenadiers and already 2022 Australian Elite Road Race Champion. He’s been stagiaire with INEOS since last August but this is his first full World Tour season. Season 2021 saw him beat big hitting, four times National Elite Time Trial Champion Luke Durbridge to the national iTT title and take silver in the Worlds iTT. He was also the only man to be able to live with Richie Porte on Willunga Hill in the 2021 Santos Festival of Cycling.
Ben Tullett – After two years with Alpecin-Fenix, off to INEOS Grenadiers
Ben Tullett – 20 years-old, GB, signed with INEOS Grenadiers. The twice World Junior Cyclo-cross champion is no stranger to high level racing having spent two seasons MVDP’s Alpecin Fenix Proteam. He’s acquitted himself well on the road with results like fifth on GC in the Tour of Antalya, 12th in the Flèche Wallonne, ninth on GC in the Tour of Poland and eighth in the Coppa Agostoni.
Lewis Askey – Still only 20 years-old
Lewis Askey – 20 years-old, GB, signed with Groupama FDJ. Winner of the 2018 Junior Paris-Roubaix, Askey has been with Marc Madiot’s development team for two years but moves up to the Big Boys after a strong season with fifth in the u23 Worlds and a stage win in the tough, ‘shop window’ for the WorldTour teams, Ronde de l’Isard. We watched him at the British Road Race Championships in October where he finished fifth and second best u23 after riding a very aggressive race.
Juan Ayuso – With UAE Team Emirates till 2025
Juan Ayuso – 19 years-old, Spain, signed with UAE Team Emirates. Three stage wins and the GC in the Baby Giro on top of wins in early season Italian u23 classics meant that the WorldTour teams would be knocking on his door. UAE have signed him until 2025 and he began riding for them last June but with 2022 as his first full season; within weeks he was on the podium of the Prueba Villafranca, with only old fox, Luis Leon Sanchez able to best him. He was on the podium of the European u23 road race championships and word from the UAE training camp is that Pog is very impressed with his young team mate’s climbing talents.
Arnaud De Lie – Hope for Lotto Soudal
Arnaud De Lie – 19 years-old, Belgium, signed with Lotto Soudal. Not quite at Remco levels but De Lie has fine junior and u23 palmarès and was third to Colombian flyer Alvaro Hodeg in the GP Vermarc at full pro level. A stage and GC win in the Tour of South Bohemia in September then a stage win in the Circuit des Ardennes the following month meant there was little doubt he would step up from the Lotto u23 team to the WorldTour team.
Martin Svrček will be with Quick-Step from July
Martin Svrček – 18 years-old, Slovakian, signed with Quick-Step – Alpha Vinyl Team from 01:07:22. Perhaps signed on the basis that, ‘if he’s Slovenian then he must be good;’ but he is National Junior Road Race and Time Trial Champion, was top 10 in the European and World junior road race championships and sixth in the junior Paris-Roubaix – and there’s plenty of time for him to develop.
Cian Uijtdebroeks – Better than Remco?
Cian Uijtdebroeks – 18 years-old, Belgian, signed with BORA-hansgrohe. Perhaps the most looked forward to of them all and younger even than Svrcek by some 11 days to make him the youngest rider in the World Tour. The comparisons have been made with a certain R. Evenepoel – something Remco’s not happy about, Tweeting regarding the superiority of his junior palmarès over Cian’s. But the Wallonne’s junior palmarès are impressive – GP West Bohemia, Classic des Alpes Junior, GC in the Aubel Thimister Stavelot, a stage in the Course de la Paix – albeit his ‘home’ Worlds were a disappointment; sixth in the TT with a muscle tear and a crash blighted 70th in the road race. A very wise move to sign with BORA on a three year deal away from the spotlight of the rabid Belgian Media, despite being courted by DSM and the mighty Quick-Step.
Is Remco Evenepoel an old-man of the peloton now?
With the season already under way, here at PEZ we look forward to seeing these young men in the thick of the action.