If there's one rider who has been turning heads on the British scene this season, it's Team Sportscover's Tom Stewart.
The 23-year-old, who is in the final few weeks of studying for a masters degree in civil engineering at Sheffield University, stormed on to domestic riders' radar screens when he rode to fourth place at the two-day Tour of the Reservoir Premier Calendar round, followed by 11th at the Lincoln Grand Prix.
"I got a few messages off people I've never spoken to before, saying ‘well done' or ‘good ride,'" said Stewart. "People like Pete Williams (IG-Sigma) and Rob Partridge (UK Youth); those kind of riders that I've got so much respect for and have looked up to. That means a lot."
Although a hold up behind a crash prematurely put an end to his first Tour Series round in Stoke-on-Trent recently, Stewart believes his recent performances have earned him his place at the head of the domestic peloton.
"When you're in a lesser known team it's difficult to be at the front and you get less leeway," he said. "I'm certainly finding it much easier to stay up there and people are giving me room and letting me in."
Living in Sheffield, Stewart is no stranger to fighting for a wheel. His local training rides take place on the notoriously fast South Yorkshire chain gangs populated by the likes of Ben Swift and the Downing brothers.
"Cycling is what I want to do full- time," he said. "There is no shortage of jobs in engineering but I feel like I'll regret it if I don't go for it [in cycling]."
With his impressive record on the road, including the British Universities (BUCS) road race title last season, it's not surprising that Stewart is confident of stepping up a gear to a UCI-registered team in 2014.
"I've had a few signs that teams are interested," he added. "I'm still keeping the door open and I'm still open to offers, but I'm pretty hopeful of something coming along."
This article was first published in the May 30 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!
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