Red Walters becomes first stagiaire in new diversity initiative set up by Hagens Berman Axeon and Tao Geoghegan Hart

Former Hagens Berman Axeon rider, Tao Geoghegan Hart set up the scheme to bring more cultural and racial diversity into the sport

Red Walters
(Image credit: Future/Dan Gould)

Hagens Berman Axeon and Tao Geoghegan Hart have revealed who is the stagiaire recruited in their newly created cultural and racial diversity scheme.

Red Walters is a 22-year-old British rider who has been riding in France at under 23 races this year, despite facing significant hurdles to get there due to Brexit and Covid-19.

Geoghegan Hart announced in February his desire to sponsor a rider to join his old team as a step towards improving diversity in cycling, with the 2020 Giro d'Italia champion saying cycling has not done enough to address the ongoing issues of underrepresented groups within the sport.

The British Ineos Grenadiers rider joined forces with his old team, Hagens Berman Axeon to get this started with Walters one of the first riders to get into contact with them when the scheme was announced.

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In a team press release, Geoghegan Hart said: "We were immediately impressed with [Red's] enthusiasm and the data that he shared with us. However, both Axel [Merckx] and I were really persuaded by his commitment and determination to go over to France to race. 

"Walters is in his last year of the u23 category, but we hope we can help him make it a final few months to remember, and vitally, an important stepping stone in his career and development as a cyclist."

Walters has spent his last couple of years jumping between teams after riding for Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother, but he was not picked once to race for the team. He then managed second place at the London Six Day before joining Nopinz-Symec where he put in good performances but was forced to leave the team in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, switching to ride with the Black Cyclist Network race team.

Speaking in the same press release, Walters said: "When Tao told me I'd be selected, I was honestly over the moon. I can't emphasise enough how hard I tried to get this kind of opportunity for this year, so to get the chance to race with an U23 team of this calibre in my final year as an U23 is incredible. On top of that, I'm really excited about the calendar and having a chance to get more experience racing at this level."

Walters was also keen to praise Geoghegan Hart for setting up this stagiaire scheme along with Hagens Berman Axeon.

"It's well known that cycling is hugely lacking in diversity," Walter said, "and while we are slowly making progress at the grassroots level, it hasn't seemed to me like there was a lot of acknowledgement from the higher levels in the sport.

“So to go out there and actually make that commitment and take action is really commendable in my opinion. 

"Then from my personal perspective, of course, it was an opportunity I jumped at. I knew the value of it and was incredibly motivated to do everything I could to give myself the best chance of being given the opportunity."

It's not yet known where Walters will make his first appearance for the American team.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.