The junior men’s road race takes place today at the World Championships in Yorkshire. Great Britain field a very strong squad, including several riders who have the ability to reach the podium.
We have already featured two of the squad. One of the pre-race favourites, Sam Watson, said he was hopeful of winning the rainbow bands in our recent interview with him. And we introduced Leo Hayter in a pen portrait ahead of his 8th place in the junior time trial earlier this week.
Here, we introduce the rest of the five-man squad: Lewis Askey, Alfie George and Max Walker.
Lewis Askey (18, Staffordshire): road race
Lewis Askey is cyclo-cross specialist who took 2nd in the junior national championships in January behind Ben Tulett (who won the junior world cyclo-cross championships later that month). But like Tom Pidcock and many of his talented young contemporaries, Askey also excels on the road.
He first shot to our attention last year when he won the junior Paris-Roubaix as a first year junior. 2018 also saw him finish 5th in the Record Bank E3 Harelbeke Juniors (1.1), 2nd in the Junior CiCLE Classic, 2nd in the British junior road race championships, 1st in the prologue at the Junior Cycling Tour Assen and 2nd in the Philipe Gilbert Juniors. A very impressive debut in the junior ranks.
This year, riding for Zannata Ride Coventry XGear and the Great Britain Cycling Team Junior Academy, he’s consolidated his position as one of the most exciting junior talents in the cycling world. He ‘only’ finished 8th in Paris-Roubaix and 2nd in Gent-Wevelgem. But in stage racing, he has really excelled. He won the Sleepwell Hotels Isle of Man Junior Tour in May and then took victory the UK’s most prestigious junior road race at the end of August: the Junior Tour of Wales (previous winners include Dan Martin, Alex Dowsett, Eddie Dunbar and Tom Pidcock). 5th overall at the recent Keizer de Juniors (1.1), he is a rider on-form and should be considered a contender.
Alfie George (18, Perth): road race
Another Great Britain Cycling Team Junior Academy member, Alfie George
On the road, perhaps his most eye-catching result was his Junior CiCLE Classic last season. This year he’s continued to demonstrate his road prowess. Amongst his highlights were 10th overall at the Junior Tour of Wales, 3rd in the Junior CiCLE Classic, 3rd in the EPZ Omloop van Borsele Juniors (1.1) and 5th at the junior Paris-Roubaix; a fine return for any junior rider, especially when you add that to his track success.
Max Walker (18, Isle of Man): road race
Max Walker is the only member of the five-man junior road race squad who is not also a member of the Great Britain Cycling Team Junior Academy. The Manxman has nonetheless flourished this season, riding for the Equiom Isle of Man Junior Cycling Team.
A rider with a fast finish, Walker started the season off with 2nd in the Belgian Guido Reybrouck Classic Junior race (behind GB teammate Sam Watson). Other notable results include a stage win in the Dutch stage race Acht van Bladelin June, 2nd overall at the Sint-Martinusprijs Kontich Juniors (2.1) stage race in July and 2nd in the British junior road race championships. His consistency throughout the domestic road season also earned him 2nd in the British Cycling Junior Men’s Road Series. He’s speed will mean he’ll be one to watch if he finds himself in a reduced group at the finish.