Team Sky have secured yet another up-and-coming talent in Chris Lawless from developmental team Axeon Hagens Berman for 2018.
Lawless, who is the current British national under-23 road race champion, will be in good company alongside Owain Doull and Tao Geoghegan Hart, who were both crowned British national under-23 road race champions, in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The young rider’s palmarès also includes victory at the ZLM Tour 2017, a race won by the likes of Fabian Cancallara and Luke Rowe (twice) in the past. Lawless also added a stage at this year’s Tour de l’Avenir to his wins, a coveted victory for any up-and-coming racer.
Axeon team manager, Axel Merckx, had a lot of praise for the young Brit.
“I think the results speak for themselves,” Merckx said. “Chris was a nice addition at the end of last year we got him on the team and to give him a good schedule and right away proved his value.
“He’s taken a lot of responsibility on the bike, he captained with guidance and motivation and helping his teammates out on the race. He got a lot of second places early in the season and was able to change that to wins in the latter part.”
Lawless’ addition wasn’t a rash decision though with Rod Ellingworth, Team Sky’s performance manager, signalling him out before his stellar 2017 season.
“We first saw Chris a couple of years back and he is someone we’ve been keeping an eye on,” Ellingworth said.
“He put in a really good ride at the nationals earlier in the year, not just in terms of the result but also in the way he rode. He’s strong and fast, and he attacked it from the gun which was impressive.
“He’s a British talent with lots of potential, and he has the capability and capacity to learn and develop with us” he said.
After gaining the attention of Team Sky and securing a dream move to one of the most dominant stage-race teams in the WorldTour today it seems Lawless’ work has just begun.
“I want to improve in every area. I’m hoping to become a more all-round bike rider and Team Sky is going to be the best place for me to do that” the young rider said.
Team Sky are currently taking part in the Vuelta a España which continues with stage 13 from Coín to Tomares over 194km.