It’s back to the grindstone for Britain’s top cycling talents. The British Cycling Olympic Academy programme gets underway on Monday with three new recruits for next season.
Junior riders Owain Doull and Alistair Slater join, while Commonwealth Games silver medalist and former Academy man George Atkins returns after taking a year away from racing.
Slater is the national junior road series champion, while Hargroves Cycles teammate Doull is a junior national track champion and Commonwealth Youth Games medalist.
As Andy Fenn and Luke Rowe turn professional with WorldTour outfits Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Sky next year, the squad will have new leaders in 2012.
“I think someone like Jon Mould needs to step up,” coach Chris Newton said. “Simon Yates proved he has the ability at the Tour de l’Avenir [where he won a stage]. He’ll be taking a lot of responsibility.”
Only small changes will be made to last year’s calendar, with early-season British races and a few Premier Calendar events planned before racing in Europe.
“We did a lot of racing last season and maybe missed out on some development aspects. With more first and second year riders coming in, it’s got to be working on development, so they’re not lambs to the slaughter,” Newton said.
Mark Christian will race with An Post-Sean Kelly next year, while officially remaining a member of the Academy, while Erick Rowsell leaves to join Endura.
Meanwhile, 19 year old Sam Harrison moves up to the Olympic Podium Programme, though there will still be input from the Academy.
Great Britain Academy squad for 2011-12