A group of British Cycling Junior and Senior Academy riders will travel the Belgium on 27 March for the UCI Nations’ Cup Gent-Wevelgem.
Ethan Hayter, Reece Wood, Etienne Georgi, Jake Stewart, Joe Nally and Rhys Britton will contest the junior version of the early-season classic, with a clear focus on exposing the squad to international racing experience at the highest level.
Gabriel Cullaigh, Ollie Wood, Mark Stewart, Mike Thompson, Jacob Scott and Matt Bostock will represent Great Britain in the under-23 event.
Great Britain Cycling Team’s plans to travel to the Belgium will go ahead despite the terrorist incidents in Brussels on Tuesday 22 March.
A spokesperson for British Cycling said: “We will be monitoring developments over the coming days. It goes without saying that the safety of our riders and coaches is paramount.
“We remain committed to ensuring that our riders have the opportunity to compete at the highest level in events across Europe and beyond.”
About the race
Gent-Wevelgem is the first stop on the UCI Nations’ Cup Junior and U23 calendars, developing riders’ editions of the Flanders classic first run in 1934.
Unlike the elite race, the routes for the junior and under-23 events begin and end in Ypres but includes a number of Flanders’ iconic ‘bergs’ from the elite edition, including the famous Kemmelberg. Junior men will race 132-kilometres while under-23s will face a longer 184-kilometre parcours.
The junior event was dominated by home riders in 2015, with Pascal Eenkkoorn winning ahead of teammates Alex Mengoulas and Stan Dewulf, while Belgians Baptiste Planckaert and Joeri Calleeuw took a home one-two in the under-23 event.
Ethan Hayter approaches the UCI Nations’ Cup Junior series in fine form after a brace of UCI 1.1 podiums in February – second place at Guide Reyboruck classic followed by a win a week later at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Juniors, which also saw Rhys Britton in action.
Reece Wood was fourth at the opening race of the British Cycling Junior Road Race Series, won by Joe Nally, with 2015 series winner Etienne Georgi adding further talent.
On the back of a strong track season Jake Stewart will complete a team that will use the event to gain experience as part of their Rider Route journey.
Nineteen-year-old Gabriel Cullaigh shot to prominence in 2015 with a stage win in the Course de la Paix in Czech Republic, winning the opening stage in a sprint. Cullaigh is joined by Ollie Wood, who spent the winter on the track, representing Great Britain at the UEC European Track Championships and the New Zealand and Hong Kong World Cups. So too did Mark Stewart, who won gold in the scratch race in New Zealand.
Jacob Scott, Matt Bostock and Mike Thompson complete the line-up.
How to follow the racing
- For updates follow @GentWevelgem on Twitter and the official event website.
- A post-event round-up with coach reaction will appear on the British Cycling website.
Gaining experience of international racing is a key component of the Rider Route for junior and senior academy road riders.
Rider Route is British Cycling’s performance pathway, helping the most promising riders become the stars of world and Olympic cycling.