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The VV View: 2022’s Young Guns

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The New Guys in the Peloton; another season and a new tranche of young professional riders in the peloton. We’ve been keeping our eyes on the ‘young guns’ and give you our top 11 all under 22. 

Photo©Getty

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. Let’s have a look at our “Young Guns”.

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Marc Brustenga

Young Guns
Marc Brustenga. Photo©Trek

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.”

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Filippo Baroncini

Young Guns
Filippo Baroncini. Photo©Getty

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. 

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Ethan Vernon

Young Guns
Ethan Vernon. Photo©QuickStep

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. 

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Finn Fisher-Black

Young Guns
Finn Fisher-Black. Photo©Johann Conus

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. 

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Luke Plapp

Young Guns
Luke Plapp. Photo©Dario Belingheri

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.

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Ben Tullett

Young Guns
Ben Tullett. Photo©Ineos

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. 

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Lewis Askey

Lewis Askey
Lewis Askey. Photo©supplied

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.

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Juan Ayuso

Young Guns
Juan Ayuso. Photo©DMT

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. 

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Arnaud De Lie