Faster with Dr Hutch: Stepping up to the senior ranks

How a rider makes that difficult transition from U-23 to the senior ranks and how the latest wunderkinds are changing the game

Faster podcast with Dr Hutch
(Image credit: Stripped media)

This time on Faster, the Dr Hutch podcast, I’m talking to Joe Laverick and Alex Dowsett, and the question is how exactly a rider makes that difficult transition from under-23 (what used to be called “amateur”) to professional.

Joe is a talented British U-23 rider based in Girona with the Hagens Berman Axeon team – probably the most successful development team in the world.

Alex rode for the same team in 2010, before moving on to Sky, Movistar, Katusha-Alpecin and Israel Start-up Nation and winning, among other things, two stages of the Giro d’Italia and almost as many national time-trial championships as me.

We look at the pressures on young riders, who have just two or three seasons to plot the biggest move of their whole careers. It’s a transition which has been made all the harder as Covid ravages their racing programme, and by changing demands in the World Tour – as Alex puts it, “Directors aren’t looking for under-23s any more, they’re looking for children. They all want to find the next Remco Evenepoel.”

We discuss how to balance your own long-term development with the immediate need to attract attention, how you manage issues like body weight when you might be under pressure from coaches with a rather short-term view of your usefulness, and how you learn to not just ride like a pro, but live like a pro as well. (A base in Girona helps, apparently.)

And we hear how the current scramble for young talent might have led a top-level team to sign a rider based entirely on the results from a dodgy power meter.

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