Leo Hayter has joined Ineos Grenadiers as a stagiaire, or trainee, and will step up to the WorldTour full-time with the team in the 2023 season.
The move for the 2022 ‘Baby Giro’ winner was reported last week, but was confirmed by his new team (opens in new tab) on Monday morning. Hayter will be joining the team that his older brother, Ethan, currently rides for, and has signed a three year contract whcih starts at the end of this year.
The 20-year-old said he was "super proud and excited" to be joining the British team, where he feels "really at home".
The team's deputy principal, Rod Ellingworth, said that he was "looking forward to him coming on board and seeing him evolve as a rider over the next few years".
Hayter only signed for the Axel Merckx run Hagens Berman Axeon team at the end of 2021. Since then, the rising star has had a breakthrough year winning the overall title along with two stage wins in the mountains at the ‘Baby Giro’ in June.
The young star also won the under-23 version of Liège–Bastogne–Liège in 2021, while riding for Team DSM's development squad, and has taken the British under-23 time trial title two years in a row.
Ellingworth said: "We’ve increased our focus over the last few years on identifying exciting young talent, and our commitment to developing them into world class bike racers.
"Leo is one of those highly talented young riders who’s already impressed with his performances at the under-23 Giro. I’m looking forward to him coming on board and seeing him evolve as a rider over the next few years.”
After his success in Italy at one of the biggest under-23 races in the world, his agent revealed that he was inundated with approaches about the 20-year-old’s services and up to nine top teams had begun to make initial enquiries.
Post Baby-Giro, the younger of the Hayters joined an Ineos Grenadiers camp in Andorra with several of the team’s WorldTour riders.
In the team's statement, Hayter said: "I’m super proud and excited to be joining the Ineos Grenadiers this coming year, moving up to the highest level of the sport in a British team I’ve been inspired by since I started competing. Having participated in some training camps with the team, I already feel really at home here, and now can’t wait to get started.”
His stunning result at the U23 Giro d’Italia came after a lengthy difficult period that included a split with Team DSM and time away from cycling to rediscover his motivation.
On his overall victory, Hayter said: “This is the result that proves what I know I’ve always been able to do. I know the numbers I produce are really good and I know I’m capable of winning big things, but you always need a bit of luck and things to go your way. This year, they really haven’t. I’ve had Covid and then quite a few different small injuries and niggles and bike-fit problems, and I couldn’t really get going.”
Speaking to Cycling Weekly at the end of last year, Hayter said: “Unless everything goes wrong, the plan is to go pro in 2023. It's nice knowing though that I still have one more year as a cushion at U23 if I need another year. I don't think I will though."
Hayter raced the Tour Alsace with his current team last week, where he finished 23rd overall and ninth on stage three, which finished as La Planche des Belles Filles. He is set to race the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir in a fortnight. L'Avenir is raced in national teams, not trade squads.
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