Looking for more results and trying to figure out what kind of rider he is, Matt Walls on his second year at Bora-Hansgrohe

British sprinter says he hopes to head to Vuelta a España, his first grand tour, in August

Matt Walls Bora Hansgrohe
Matt Walls sprints to victory at Gran Piemonte last year
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Going into his second year with Bora-Hansgrohe, Matt Walls feels like he is heading in the right direction in his nascent road cycling career.

The British sprinter, who won gold in the omnium at last year's Olympics, told the media at his team's press day that he was also still trying to figure out where he fits in as a rider.

"I believe I've improved on last year," Walls said. "I'm getting stronger as a rider, a bit more experienced too. So hopefully I can get some more results this year."

The Mancunian returned from Tokyo in top form, winning sprints at the Tour of Norway and at Gran Piemonte, beating established fast men like Giacomo Nizzolo, Mads Pedersen and Ethan Hayter in the process.

However, Walls is not convinced that he is a all-out bunch sprinter in the mould of Mark Cavendish or Sam Bennett. 

"I'm still trying to figure out where I fit in as a rider," Walls explained. "I don't think I'm going to be a full-on sprinter type, because of the way I'm built, but hopefully on some of the harder days, a little bit hilly but with a sprint as well, I should have a bit of a chance. 

"I think we will work well together. If the team needs me to work then I'll work. If I get my own chance, then I get my own chances."

>>> Sam Bennett aims to be 'master of chaos' in sprints as he returns to Bora-Hansgrohe

"I'll see over the next year or two," Walls continued. "See how I develop in the training that we're doing and the races, to see whether I'm going to be a pure sprinter or one where it's more of a reduced bunch sprint. 

"I can't really say now this is exactly what I'm going to be, but we have to wait and see how I am going to develop."

He will head to the Mallorca Challenge and Valenciana before riding Opening Weekend this year. If everything goes well, he said, he will ride his first grand tour, the Vuelta a España, this summer. The plan is for him to be the team's designated sprinter at some races this season.

"Hopefully I'll do the Vuelta, depending on how my season goes. It will be really nice to get a grand tour in, if I'm going well."

As well as being Olympic omnium champion, Walls also won silver in the madison with Hayter, and he hopes to continue to do some track work in combination with the demands of his road team.

"The team were really accommodating last year letting me do the Olympics and some track work," he said. "Hopefully I can mix it, when I'm not doing the road racing I can do a little bit of track. It helps me as a rider, and the team seem pretty happy with that."

Asked to elaborate on what he has learned from the track, Walls said: "I've been brought up on the track, I've been on the GB programme from when I was 15 or something."

"The track skills can come across well, like riding in a bunch and tactics, then the physical side is like the speed. It helps massively in the sprint, or it has at least for me. I know a few of the guys say the same."

As he heads into his second year with Bora-Hansgrohe, Walls is still adjusting to life in the WorldTour, but sees his German team as a good place to be.

"I'd only ever been on GB teams before this," he said. "It was a big change coming into an international team, but it has been really good. I get on with all the riders and the staff, and it just feels easy. 

"There's not really any struggle or anything like that, and everyone is just as supportive. That was the good thing with British Cycling, there's a lot of support around you, but it's the same here."

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