A new generation of riders will get their first taste of big-time European racing next week as the latest crew of stagiaire enters the peloton for the second half of the season.
RadioShack and BMC are each working in some promising U.S. talent into their respective programs. A strong showing in some of the late-season events can help ease the way to a full-time contract for the up-and-coming talent.
Headlining the class will be Taylor Phinney, 20, who will make jump from Trek-Livestrong to Team RadioShack at the Tour of Denmark next month. The cycling prodigy has already impressed at the U-23 ranks, twice winning Paris-Roubaix and four stages at the overall at the Olympia Tour.
At BMC, Cole House will make his debut with the team at the Tour de l’Ain (August 10-14).
BMC Racing Team president Jim Ochowicz said House’s promotion is a chance for the Oneida, Wis., resident to show himself in the pro peloton for the first time. House won a stage of the recent International Cycling Classic and spent much of the spring racing with USA Cycling’s Under 23 team. He is believed to be the first Native American professional cyclist.
“It’s up to him seize the opportunity and show what they can do,” Ochowicz said in a team release.
Also joining the “stagiaire” ranks with RadioShack will be two promising New Zealand riders. Jesse Sergent is already racing with Trek-Livestrong, and impressed at the Tour of Gila by winning the TT ahead of the top U.S. pros.
Also racing will be Clinton Avery, another strong all-rounder who’s won one-day and multi-day stage races in Europe among the U23 ranks.
Avery, Sergent and Phinney will all race at the Tour of Denmark (August 4-10) as part of a busy European schedule with RadioShack.
“All three riders are classy young riders. They have a lot of potential. We believe in them and are hoping this works out and can lead to something permanent next year,” RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel said in a statement. “So far, none of the three riders has a guaranteed place in our 2011 team, but this is already a step forward in their development.”
The trio will get a taste of European racing at smaller, but challenging events across northern Europe. After Denmark, they will race at the Tour de Poitou-Charentes (August 24-27), Classic de l’Indre (August 29), GP Jef Scherens/Leuven (September 5), Memorial Van Steenbergen (September 8), Paris-Brussels (September 11), GP Fourmies (September 12), GP de Wallonnie (September 15), Koolskamp (September 17) and GP Isbergues (September 19).
Bruyneel also said the team is “currently negotiating” with riders to add to the squad’s 2011 roster and took another stab at the Vuelta a España organizers for not inviting RadioShack to the 2010 edition.
“All of these one-day races are part of the replacement program we had to put into place after we were told we’re not welcome at this year’s (Vuelta),” Bruyneel continued. “I hope that our victory in the team classification in the Tour de France may be an answer to the organizers of the Vuelta. It feels bitter: the best team in the world’s hardest race not being invited to participate at the Vuelta. ‘Other teams offered us better options on a sporting,’ they said to us. We disagree.”
Cervélo TestTeam also announced two new young riders for the remainder of the season. Alexander Wetterhall of Sweden and Daniel Teklehaymanot of Eritrea will join the Canadian-backed team. Wetterhall, 24, won the Swedish national time trial championship this year and won the FDB Insurance Rás in Ireland.
Teklehaymanot, 21, is a promising African rider who won the U23 time trial trophy at the African championships and was sixth last year at the Tour de l’Avenir. This year, he won the Coupe de Nations Ville Saguenay race and was second at Berner Rundfahrt.
Wetterhall will debut at the Tour of Denmark and Teklehaymanot will line up at the Classic d’Indre in late August.