Features Interviews Podcast

James Shaw: searching for a pro contract

The 24-year-old looks back on the last two years of his career, from the rejection he faced at Lotto Soudal to his sense of déjà vu, as he once again faces an uncertain future

Our latest episode is with 24-year-old James Shaw. You might not know this, but not long after we set up The British Continental, towards the end of 2018, the very first interview we did was with James

Back then, he was still reeling from the news that Lotto Soudal had decided not to renew his contract, despite quietly impressing with two seasons of reliable, diligent work as a domestique in some of the world’s top races before finishing 10th in the U23 world road race championships. As the year was drawing to a close, he told us that time was running out to save his barely-begun cycling career. 

Eventually, he joined the newly created UK Continental team SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, hoping to earn the results that would enable him to return to the pro ranks. A successful season followed, with wins in the National Road Series and 5th overall in the Tour de Yorkshire, helping him to secure a one-year contract with the Pro Continental Danish team Riwal Readynez.

At the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire. Photo: James York

This year has been a tough one for James, not just because of the pandemic-hit calendar, but also because his team hit financial hard times, meaning the riders had to forego wages in order for the team to continue racing. Despite the interruptions, he’s put together a very a solid year, including selection for the worlds road race. But now, with the team’s future uncertain, he has ended his season once again looking for a contract. With the search not going well so far, James said in a recent Instagram post that he may even have raced the last race of his career. 

In this interview, James looks back on the last two years of his career, from the tough rejection he faced at Lotto Soudal, his season at the domestic level with SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, joining Riwal this year and the sense of déjà vu he now has as once again faces an uncertain future in cycling. 

Apologies for the sound quality in this one. Despite trying for ages, James and Denny weren’t quite able to rectify a slightly dodgy line, one of the perils of remote interviewing. Do bear with it though, because James’ candidness and honesty is well-deserving of a listen. 

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Featured photo: SWPix.com