The Continental peloton here in the UK can often feel like something of a closed shop, with the same list of names circling between the same five or six teams, and only a handful of new additions each year. This season, though, there seems to be a whole crop of ‘newcomers’ to the peloton – between young riders moving up and riders returning from racing abroad, there are plenty of new faces to get to know. This is far from a comprehensive list, but I’ve picked out a few new names to highlight and introduce ahead of the racing season where they’ll definitely be ones to keep an eye on.
Callum Macleod (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes)
Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes‘ youngest new recruit Callum Macleod may be a familiar figure to British cyclocross fans, but the first-year senior has yet to fully test his legs in the elite peloton on the road. Macleod’s most recent successes were earnt more in the mud than on the tarmac, bettering the likes of Daniel Tulett and Cameron Mason to win this season’s U23 National Cyclocross Trophy. This win is particularly impressive when you remember that at only 18, Macleod is very much at the youngest end of the under-23 bracket. Macleod seems keen to translate this CX success to the road, as he joins Canyon dhb with the prospect of a packed road calendar. Though only young, Macleod certainly isn’t lacking in road ability or experience, having ridden for Reading club Palmer Park Velo since he was three and raced for nearly as long. As a graduate of Zappi Racing, a well-respected team that gives young British riders the chance to race abroad, Macleod has plenty of experience of competing on the Continent, as well as some top-10s in big junior stage races. Canyon dhb is definitely an impressive line-up to be joining, but with Tim Elverson’s record of supporting younger riders, the team should be an ideal fit for Callum Macleod.
Joe Laverick (Madison Genesis)
Another very young addition to the Continental peloton is 18-year-old Joe Laverick [one of The British Continental’s U23 riders to watch], who has earned himself a ride with Madison Genesis. Having ridden with Belgian team Soenens Booom as a junior, Laverick already has a lot of experience racing abroad, in junior stage races and UCI events. This wealth of experience – including wins and top-10s, not just ‘getting round’ – is what sets the likes of Laverick and Macleod apart from their fellow juniors, and is certainly a big part of what has landed the pair spots on UCI teams in only their first year as seniors. As well as excelling in Europe, Laverick has
Ben Healy (Team Wiggins Le Col)
My third and final first-year senior pick is another time trial specialist – Irish junior TT champ Ben Healy, who will be riding for Team Wiggins Le
Red Walters (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother)
In a significant reshuffling of their roster, Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother
Jacob Hennessy (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes)
Jacob Hennessy is a well-known figure in the U23 world [and one The British Continental’s domestic riders
As a final-year U23 rider, Hennessy knew he would be moving on from the Australian team for 2019 and in November it was announced that the 22-year-old would be heading back to a British team in the form of Canyon
Watch out for an interview with Jacob Hennessy on The British Continental, coming very soon.
Scott Auld (Ribble Pro Cycling)
Ribble Pro Cycling have stepped up to UCI level for 2019 and with that have kept a relatively ‘tried and tested’ roster, but one name that sticks out is Scott Auld, who will be returning to the UK after a 4-year stint racing abroad, first with Zappi Racing and more recently with French outfit VC Toucy. After riding for PH-MAS as a junior (the team now known for nurturing a young Tom Pidcock) Auld headed abroad to race for Zappi, something of a ‘third way’ when it comes to young riders’ development paths – opting to go abroad, often alone, rather than race for a UK team or pursue the British Cycling route. Despite some troubles with the team towards the end of 2018, Auld picked up some solid results in France and Belgium with VC Toucy, including 23rd against some major teams at Paris-Troyes (2.1) and wins in non-UCI events. With this experience of racing abroad, Auld should bring some European prowess to Ribble’s squad, and hopefully find some success along the way as he re-adapts to British racing. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently, left very injured after being struck by a van whilst out training in Spain, but hopefully Scott Auld will be on the road to recovery and racing soon.
Freddie Scheske (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother)
Despite some impressive wins, the final ‘new face’ is probably the most unfamiliar of them all, but perhaps one of the most likely to bag a big result this season. German University of Exeter student Freddie Scheske shot to prominence in early 2018 when he won a string of Nat Bs, topped off by sprinting to victory at the Winchester Criterium in June. Riding for his university cycling club and Team Tor 2000 KALAS, Scheske spent 2018 balancing racing with studying, finding that criteriums were where he was most successful. Thanks to his Elite racing licence, Scheske was able to secure rides in several Nat As, including the Bristol GP, 3 rounds of the National Circuit Series, and the Leicester Castle Classic, where he rubbed shoulders with the best to sprint to 10th. Scheske’s results sheet for 2018 looks impressive for any rider, let alone one riding for a lower-division team, so it’s no huge surprise to see him stepping up to Continental level with Vitus in 2019. Team manager Pridham has identified Scheske a lead-out man for sprinters Chris Latham and Ed Clancy, but he’s not to be written off as a potential winner himself, particularly in a peloton where real powerhouse sprinters are few and far between.
As the season gets underway and we all turn our attention to the big favourites – Bibby, Swift, Pidcock – it’s worth scanning the startlists for a few of the names mentioned here, to see how these newcomers fare in the domestic peloton. Though these riders aren’t yet established stars, they’re all more than capable of some strong rides this season, and are definitely names to remember for the future.
This piece was written by guest contributor Matilda Price. For more of her musings on the domestic racing scene, visit her excellent blog here.