Riders in the storm: the young British talents facing down Brexit and Covid to fulfil European dreams

Five young British hopefuls tell us the challenges currently facing their racing dreams

Joe Laverick and Tom Portsmouth (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images/Joe Laverick/Tom Portsmouth)

(Image credit: Denver Post via Getty Images)

Eighteen months ago, the dream of beginning a career on the Continent in earnest seemed like it was just a step away from fruition for a whole raft of young British hopefuls. But many of those riders didn’t even race last year and now in 2021, with a return to something more normal on the cards, Brexit has battered them from a different angle with its 90-day visitor’s limit. We spoke to a bunch of young riders funded by the Rayner Foundation and found that even if the red tape isn’t particularly willing, the spirit certainly isn’t weak.

George Bazley (VS Valletais, France)

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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, World Championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the Middle East. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.