British fans faced disappointing news last week as it became clear there would be a shortage of GB team leaders in the Tour de France 2020.
Team Ineos announced that both Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome would miss the race, while Bahrain-McLaren also revealed that Mark Cavendish wouldn’t be in the race.
But there is some good news for UK cycling fans, as two exciting British prospects will be joining the WorldTour from 2021.
Jake Stewart and Matthew Walls will both be making the jump to cycling’s highest level next year with two different teams, Groupama-FDJ and Bora-Hansgrohe.
Stewart, 20 years old from Coventry, has been racing with the Groupama-FDJ development squad but will be stepping up to the elite-level team next year after showing huge promise.
Most recently he put in an outstanding performance in the Tour du Limousin with two second place stages finishes, second overall and victory in the youth competition.
He also became a talking point on stage one when he celebrated a sprint for second place, while unaware that a lone breakaway rider had already taken victory further up the road.
Matthew Walls, 22 from Oldham, has been a huge talent on the track having worked his way through the British Cycling talent programme, but now hopes to become a sprinter on the road with Bora-Hansgrohe.
He said: “In the past, I have ridden both track and road, and I think the track has given me the necessary top end speed to be successful in sprinting on the road. Tokyo [Olympics] remains a goal, but my priorities now lie on the road. Bora-Hansgrohe has developed many top sprinters, and that gives me a lot of confidence. Thanks to the team for this opportunity, I can’t wait to contribute to their success.”
Bora talent scout Christian Schrot said: “Matthew completed British Cycling’s talent development program on the track. We are confident that this foundation will enable him to cope well with the jump to the WorldTour. We will endeavour to bring him up to the necessary level in the next few years and build him up as a sprinter. With his speed, we believe that he possesses a strong basis for this.”