Number 32: Sam Harrison
Last year’s position: N/A
The 18-year-old Welsh rider is following in the footsteps of Geraint Thomas, the rider he says he looks up to as inspiration.
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And Harrison has more than a little in common with Thomas because he’s as comfortable on the cobbles as he is on the track.
Back in April, Harrison was seventh in the junior edition of Paris-Roubaix. Harrison was part of a Great Britain team that imposed itself on the race. The Welshman punctured about 10 kilometres before the first section of cobbles but chased back and, thanks to a canny bit of riding where he jumped up on the pavement, he slotted into the top 30 again. After the cobbles it eased up and Harrison decided to go for it.
With 60 kilometres to go, he attacked solo and quickly gained a minute. Harrison was ahead on his own for 40 kilometres – earning him the award for being the best rider on the cobbles, awarded by the race jury. He was caught by a Russian and then a small group that contained his Great Britain team-mate Dan McLay. Despite being very tired, he managed to finish well up in the 10-man sprint to clinch seventh place.
Later in the summer, Harrison was part of Britain’s team pursuit – with fellow Welshman Owain Doull, McLay and Simon Yates – that finished second to the Australians at the Junior Worlds in Montichiari, Italy. The British team qualified fastest but were beaten by three seconds in the final. The Aussies’ winning time was an ominous 4-05, just outside the junior world record. Harrison also took the silver medal in the ominum at the junior track worlds. In October he was just outside the medals in the points race at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Cycling Weekly’s Top British Riders of 2010 advent calendar: We will reveal one rider per day behind the virtual doors of our sparkly advent calendar from Wednesday December 1 to Christmas Eve, Friday December 24. The top eight will then be revealed in Cycling Weekly magazine’s final issue of the year, which will be in the shops on December 30 2010.