Ineos have announced the signing of Carlos Rodriguez, an 18-year-old who has won the junior Spanish time trial championships for the previous two years.
He arrives from Kometa Cycling’s junior team, agreeing a four-year deal that will see him race for the British squad until at least the end of 2023.
As well as his time trial victories, Rodriguez has impressed with junior victories at Gipuzkoa Klasika and the Tour de Gironde, as well as finishing sixth in the 2018 Paris-Roubaix juniors, which was won by Brit Lewis Askey.
Ineos say they have identified potential climbing talent in the Spanish youngster, and will hope to mould him into a future star.
Alongside racing, Rodriguez plans to remain in university education and complete his degree in engineering.
Speaking of his delight at signing with the WorldTour outfit, Rodriguez said: “I am under no illusions it is a big step up to the professional level. The training is going to be harder and the races much faster. I think that if I work hard, step by step, I can progress and adapt myself to the WorldTour. That’s my main objective for the next few seasons and I’m in the best place to do that.
“At this stage in my career I think of myself as an all-round rider. Being consistent across the different disciplines is my strength, but I like the climbs and the tough races.”
Team INEOS Coach Xabier Artetxe added the team’s delight at having secured a great prospect for the future: “Carlos has achieved some really good results in Spanish races and in the last two or three years he’s been one of, if not the best rider of his age.
“He’ll start from zero, learn everything and find his place in professional cycling. I think he’s going to be a really good climber in the future. He’s an exciting talent, a bright guy doing a university course in engineering. It’s an important focus for him, keeping up his studies and his cycling.
“The goal is to be in a position where he can learn as much as possible. It’s not about the results or how he performs in the races. He’ll be in training camps and races with some of the best riders in the world and learn from them. He’s in the best university that he can be in for cycling, and if he’s smart then he’s going to absorb all this experience.”