The rise of newcomers, 7 new-generation riders worth paying attention to in the 2021 season.
With the end of each season, sponsors join and leave, veterans retired and a group of young drivers break in, the professional car world is undergoing a process of alternating between old and new every year.
This year is no exception. Even if the interrupted season means that there are fewer opportunities to rule youth and U23 drivers than ever before, the 2021 World Tour will still usher in a batch of fresh blood. Let's take a look at our 7 new riders worth watching in 2021.
Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) 21 years old
Pidcock, weighing 58 kg and 1.57 meters tall, is the most watched new professional driver in 2021. In September last year, he signed a three-year contract with INEOS Grenadiers, a giant World Tour team.
In the road race, he won the Paris-Roubaix youth and U23 competition, won the world youth time trial championship, won the bronze medal in the U23 road race in his hometown of Yorkshire, and won the Tour of Alsace. In the cross-country arena, he has won the U23 World Cup and the European Championship, and twice won the UCI World Cup U23 Championship.
In the 2020 season, he won the U23 Mountain Cross Country World Cup, eMTB and U23 World Championships, and won the silver medal in the Cross Country Classic. Last week, he also defeated Mathieu van der Poel in the Superprestige CX series Haval.
For the 21-year-old driver, this is a remarkable achievement. He also has some top road experience. Last year he represented the Wiggins team in the Tour of Yorkshire and Tour of England.
Diego Camargo (EF Education First), 22 years old
Camargo is the latest Colombian genius to appear on the World Tour. He previously played for the Colombian Tierra de Atletas-GW Intercontinental Team.
In November of this year, Camargo won the Tour of Colombia (Vuelta a Colombia) from Richard Carapaz, Miguel Ángel López and Sergio Luis Henao. At the end of this month, he also won the professional competition. After 10 stages, he defeated the three-time champion Óscar Sevilla by 24 seconds.
This season he also competed with European professional players in the Tour of San Juan and Tour of Colombia 2.1, ranking 11th in the latter's overall results.
The last driver to win both the U23 and the Tour of Colombia was Oliveiro Rincón. He, like López, Quintana and many others, has won a single race in three major tournaments in his career, and won three top 5 places in the Giro d'Italia and the Giro d'Or. If Camargo can get close to copying this model, then EF Education First will be ecstatic.
Xandres Vervloesem (Lotto-Soudal), 20 years old
Certain events on the U23 schedule below always require more attention than others, and Ronde de l'Isard is one of them. The race was held in the Ositany region of southern France and is a proving ground for future professional drivers. In recent years, the winners include Denis Menchov, Philip Deignan, Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) and Pavel Sivakov (INEOS Grenadiers).
In September of this year, Vervloesem added his name to the list, won the race, and successfully joined the Lotto team.
Jordi Meeus (BORA-hansgrohe), 22 years old
The Belgian driver has a strong sprint ability and has achieved a series of impressive results before starting his official career. The highlight so far is the Gooikse Pijl in 2018, where he defeated a professional driver.
In 2020, he won more victories, including two single stations of the 2.1 Tour of the Czech Republic, one single station of the U23 Tour of Italy and the U23 Belgium road championship. He also entered the top five in Antwerp Port epic and Gooikse Pijl.
He will become the leader of the BORA-hansgrohe team, but the team said he has the potential to become one of the fastest drivers. The German team recently announced the signing of the highly acclaimed 17-year-old Cian Uijtdebroecks. He will be in the youth team of the BORA-hansgrohe team for one year, and will officially join the BORA-hansgrohe team in 2022.
Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), 17 years old
Ayuso won't be able to participate in the World Tour until August next year, but once he gets there, the promising Spanish driver will definitely cause a sensation. The 18-year-old driver signed a five-year contract with UAE Team Emirates as early as April this year. In the previous years, he has been the focus of sports director joxean "matxin" fernández.
He is the most dominant driver in Spain this year, with 21 victories, including Trofeo Victor Cabedo, Vueelta a Tavalera and Vuelta a la Subbética stages, national road championship and Gizpukoa Klasika and Circuito del Guadiana one-day races .
Ayuso has spent some time in the UAE training camp and will join the Italian Colpack Intercontinental Team next year. The Colpack team has trained professional drivers such as Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Simone Consonni (Team Cofidis), Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) and Fausto Masnada. Sports director Matxin Joxean Fernandez said that he is part of a long-term project in the UAE, and Ayuso also said that he hopes to transition from an all-rounder to a stronger climber in the future.
Olav Kooij (Team Jumbo–Visma), 19 years old
Like Ayuso, Kooij is another driver who will join the team later in the next season. In July next year, he will transfer from the Jumbo Development Team to the World Tour Team. The Dutch sprint genius has performed well in all levels of competition he participated in and has won his first professional championship.
It was won in the Settimana Coppi e Bartali in September, where he defeated Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers) and Phil Bauhaus (Team Bahrain Victorious) to win the opening stage. This is his biggest victory so far, but it is also one of many victories in 2020. In March of this year, he won Trofej Poreč and Trofej Umag, and then after returning from the tournament in July, he won the Slovenian GP Kranj.
At the age of 18, he finished fifth and seventh in the U23 European and Dutch Championships, and won two stage victories and first overall results in the Oren National Grand Prix. Merijn Zeeman, Sports Director of Jumbo Racing, called him "very fast", as we have seen so far, it will not take long to see that speed on the biggest stage.
Marco Brenner (DSM Team), 18 years old
At the end of our list is the German teenager Brenner, who signed a contract as early as June this year to directly participate in the 2021 World Tour. For the past two years, he has been a force in youth-level events, winning 19 victories in 2019 and 8 victories in 2020, including Pays de Vaud, Tour of Austria and countless German events.
At the Yorkshire World Championships, he won a bronze medal in the youth time trial and a silver medal in this year's Plauy European Time Trial. He also won the German Youth Championship for two consecutive years and won the 2020 road race championship with a lead of nearly six minutes.
His performance on the field left a deep impression on the DSM team and eventually led to the signing of the increasingly younger team. DSM head coach Rudi Kemna called Brenner "one of the most talented young drivers."