Monday, June 24, 2024
HomeNuggetsThe VV View: 2023 Top Ten Young Guns, the Men to Watch

The VV View: 2023 Top Ten Young Guns, the Men to Watch


Recently we took a look back at the young men to watch who we thought would be ‘doing the business’ in 2022 and how they had actually fared – plus we added a few names that we feel are sure to make headlines in 2023.

Men to Watch
Luke Plapp. Photo©Getty

Some of our ‘tips’ are already winning; Luke Plapp [INEOS] defended his Aussie road title and strong farm boy, Arnaud De Lie [Lotto Dstny & Belgium] won the first road race of the Euro season, the UCI 1.1 Gran Primi Valencia.

No less a personage than Johan Bruyneel reckons that De Lie will be one of the sensations of 2023.

Men to Watch
Arnaud De Lie. Photo©Getty

But since we penned that piece we’ve had our ear to the ground and here’s another tranche of young names to take note of for season 2023.

* * *

Negasa Haylu Abreha [Q36.5 Pro Cycling] 

Men to Watch
Negasa Haylu Abreha. Photo©supplied

The 22 years-old former Ethiopian National Champion steps up from Continental level to Pro Team with Doug Ryder’s squad.

Abreha’s 2022 results were inconsistent but top 20 finishes in Adriatica Ionica and the Baby Giro show that the man certainly has potential.

It’s only a matter of time before the cycling agents produce a stream of quality riders to emerge from Africa, emulating Daniel Teklehaimanot and Biniam Girmay.

* * *

Jan Christen [Hagens Berman Axeon & Switzerland] 

Men to Watch
Jan Christen. Photo©Imago

He rides this year with Axel Merckx’s team in 2023 but UAE have him on a four year contract from 2024 – that tells us much about his potential.

The World Junior Cyclo-Cross Champion – on a course which was really a fast gravel criterium – is still only 18 years old and comes out of a season where he won the Tour du Pays de Vaud and European Junior Road Race Championship as well as finishing fourth in the World Junior Time Trial Championship.

* * *

Thomas Gloag [Jumbo-Visma & GB] 

Men to Watch
Thomas Gloag. Photo©Jumbo-Visma

The 21 years-old reputedly turned down a ride with INEOS in favour of the Dutch super team.

Gloag rode stagiaire in black and yellow at the end of 2022 and posted 17th in the Giro dell’Emilia, 12th in the Tre Valli Varesine and 12th in Gran Piemonte – if that’s not promising then I don’t know what is.

But strong rides in 2021 in the Baby Giro, Tour de l’Avenir and Ronde de l’Isard had already alerted us to his potential.

* * *

Alastair MacKellar [Israel Premier Tech Academy & Australia] 

Men to Watch
Alastair Mackellar. Photo©ZW Photography

The 21 years-old took both the u23 national Road Race and Time Trial titles, he was just off the top 10 in the Tour of Slovakia against WorldTour opposition; we look forward to seeing him in action throughout the season.

* * *

Lenny Martinez [Groupama FDJ & France] 

Lenny Martinez. Photo©supplied

The 19 years-old’s grandfather and father were pros before him; with grandad, Mariano a double Tour de France stage winner in 1978 and dad Miguel a multiple National, European and World Champion as a mountain biker and cyclo-cross rider.

At 52 kilos Lenny is the classic flyweight climber; king of the mountains in Baby Giro and Ronde de l’Isard with two stage wins in the latter he also won the ‘pro shop window,’ Giro della Valle d’Aosta – for sure, a man to watch.

Groupama FDJ have it right with their development team, producing a steady stream of quality young riders.

* * *

António Morgado [Hagens Berman Axeon & Portugal] 

Men to Watch
Antonio Morgado. Photo©supplied

He’s junior National Champion in the Points Race and Scratch Race on the boards, Time Trial and Road Race champion.

On the international scene he won the Vuelta Ribero del Duero stage race in Spain and the Giro della Lunigiano stage race in Italy before closing out his season with silver in the junior Worlds Road Race.

And as part of Axel Merck’s ‘champion factory,’ at 18 years-old he can only improve.

* * *

Max Poole [Team DSM & GB] 

Max Poole. Photo©DSM

The 19 years-old moves up from the DSM Development team to the World Team, top 10 GC finishes in the Arctic Tour of Norway, Sazka Tour and Valle d’Aosta bode well for the 2023 season.

Poole was British Junior Road Race Champion in 2021 also posting stage wins in the GP Ruebliland in Switzerland and la Philippe Gilbert in Belgium, both top junior races, attracting strong fields of young hopefuls.

* * *

Artem Shmidt [Hagens Berman Axeon & USA] 

Artem Shmidt. Photo©FloBikes

The 18 years-old is a strong time trial rider with iTT stage wins taking him to GC wins in the Manavgat Slide and Velo Alanya stage races in Turkey, he was second in his National junior Time Trial and Road Race championships before winning the Junior Tour of Austria.

His season closed out with top six finishes in the junior Worlds Road Race and Time Trial.

Another young man the Merckx Magic will surely influence – with the scuttlebutt telling us that Shmidt turned down the offer of a ride with Movistar to ride with the Axel’s American team.

* * *

Alex S