New season, new names to keep an eye on
A new season brings with it plenty of changes at WorldTour level, including the introduction of promising young talent.
The coming year brings with it some debutant names who will be looking to impress their new teams and hook their own fans.
From Under 23 World Champions to almost-British time trial championships, we have put together a selection of names to watch in 2019.
1. Ivan Sosa
Close friend of Team Sky’s prodigy Egan Bernal, fellow Colombian Ivan Sosa has also be joined the team this year.
The 21-year-old moves up from Pro Continental team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, where Bernal also cut his teeth.
In 2018 Sosa took overall crowns in the Vuelta a Burgos, the Sibiu Cycling Tour, Adriatic Ionic, and the Tour of Bihor, setting the standard for his break into the WorldTour.
With Team Sky’s reputation for spending the big bucks and buying the best, their interest in Sosa would be enough to make him a key rider to watch in the coming season, even after his sterling 2018 season.
2. Pfeiffer Georgi
At just 18 years old, it may seem premature to pick Brit Pfeiffer Georgi out of the pack, but her signing by Team Sunweb for 2019 sets her apart.
Last season saw Georgi start strong and press on with a staggering season.
Opening with a win at Trofeo da Moreno in Italy, she then took a stage win and overall victory at the Healthy Ageing Tour Junior race in the Netherlands.
That was quickly followed by a second place on general classification at EPZ Omloop van Borsele, and wins at the Watersley Ladies Challenge, both on the opening stage and the GC.
Georgi becomes the only Brit to ride for the German Sunweb outfit, but her progress should certainly peak the interest of home fans.
3. Harry Tanfield
If 2018 proved one thing to British fans, it’s that Harry Tanfield is very good.
Opening the season with a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games time trial, Tanfield went on to a stunning victory during the opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.
After a few strong showings at lower tier races with his Canyon-Eisberg team, Tanfield proved his class in the British national time trial championships, where he finished second behind Geraint Thomas and ahead of Alex Dowsett.
Someone out there has been paying attention, as Tanfield now joins Dowsett at Katusha-Alpecin – let’s see if the WorldTour suits the 24-year-old time trial king.
4. Letizia Paternoster
Italian Paternoster has made the move to Trek-Segafredo from Astana Women’s Team, who will take the 19-year-old to some of the biggest races of her career.
Last year she won the Festival Elsy Jacobs in the Netherlands and took a top ten in the women’s Ghent-Wevelgem.
The new season is likely to see her become a protected rider for the Trek outfit while she also stretches her legs on the track.
5. Stevie Williams
Aberystwyth–born Williams was riding a relatively anonymous season in the early part of 2018, his best result coming at the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April where he finished ninth.
But the following month something clicked for the 22-year-old, who went on to win the opening two stages of the Ronde de l’Isard in France.
That wasn’t the end for Williams, who then won a stage of the U23 Giro d’Italia, finishing fifth overall and only falling off the podium on the final day’s time trial.
Williams joins Bahrain-Merida for 2019, an exciting step in an ever-developing career.
6. Marc Hirschi
Marc Hirschi, a 20-year-old Swiss rider who spent 2018 with the Sunweb development team, claimed consistent wins throughout last season.
With stage success in the Istarsko Proljece-Istrian Spring Trophy, Tour de l’Ain, Grand Prix Priessnitz spa and Tour Alsace, it was already a glowing season for Hirschi before the biggest win of his career.
In a tactical masterclass by the Swiss squad, Hirschi was the chosen man to ride away from rivals during the final of the U23 World Championship road race in Austria last September.
After following a three-man move on the final lap, Hirschi attacked the final descent and distanced the competition to win solo, with a 15-second bridge to second place.
He moves up to the Sunweb WorldTour squad for 2019.
7. Tadej Pogačar
While it may not be an indicator of a guaranteed future Grand Tour winner, the Tour de l’Avenir is still one of the most prestigious battlegrounds for young riders.
The 2018 winner of that 10-stage race is Tadej Pogačar, a Slovenian who you might not have heard of.
A packed 2018 race calendar saw the 20-year-old win the Tour d l’Avenir as well as the Giro dell Regione Friulli Venezia Giulia stage race.
Despite picking up just the single stage win last year, Pogačar move up to the WorldTour with UAE Team Emirates, where he will learn from the likes of Irishman Dan Martin and Italian Fabio Aru.
8. Remco Evenepoel
While the comparisons with Eddy Merckx seem wildly eccentric in the modern era, Remco Evenepoel can certainly ride.
The young Belgian won more races than he lost in 2018, finishing on the top step on 23 occasions, with 18 stage wins and five GC victories.
At just 18 and having only been cycling for 18 months, Evenpoel rode a blistering double at the World Championships in Austria, taking the win in both the time trial and the road race.
He now joins Deceuninck – Quick–Step, debuting at the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina.
9. Giulio Ciccone
Another rider that may have slipped under the radar for most fans is Giulio Ciccone, who has had moments of greatness during his early career.
The most notable achievement of the young Italian’s life came at the 2016 Giro d’Italia, when he won on a mountain day to Sestola while riding for Pro Continental team Bardiani-CSF.
Ciccone now moves to Trek-Segafredo for 2019, where he hopes to repeat former glories with the support of an impressive outfit.