After exceptional performances this season, Scotland's Oscar Onley has been promoted by Team DSM to join their WorldTour team for five years from next season.
Onley came through the Scottish Cycling Performance Programme and will not be the only Scot in action on the world stage in 2023. The Kelso native will join Sean Flynn at the Dutch squad for next season, as the two become the first male Scottish-developed riders to join the WorldTour in its current guise, and the first to ride at the highest echelons of the sport since Brian Smith.
The duo join Anna Shackley (Team SD Worx) who has gone from strength to strength on the Women's WorldTour over the past two seasons.
Riding for the development squad at Team DSM, Onley rose to prominence this season with a victory at the U23 Valle d'Aosta and a top ten at the U23 Giro d'Italia, which gained the attention of Team DSM and saw his promoted for several races at the end of the season.
The curtailled Tour of Britain saw Onley in the hunt for the general classification, riding aggresiviely against WorldTour oppoisition, while the CRO.race saw Onley revel on the short steep finishes. The Scot managed to battle with Tour de France winner Jonas Vinegaard and only missed out on winning the overall by 11 seconds, claiming the jersey for best young rider in the process.
His efforts in 2022, saw Onley nominated for the Scottish Cycling Awards, shortlisted for the Male Rider of the Year Award.
Oscar started cycling at the age of 10 and went on to join the Kelso Wheelers whom he credits with getting him into racing and honing his exceptional time trialling abilities. Onley was amongst the first cohort of riders in Scottish Cycling RACE National programme as a second year Youth A, attending many cluster sessions as well as R.A.C.E. National Coaching days before joining the Junior Performance Development Programme, where he competed for Scotland alongside competing for Spokes Racing Team.
He becomes the latest of alumni from the Spokes team over the years to head on to top level racing, with Finn Crockett, Mark Stewart and Alfie George all having made steps up in recent years, proving how important junior development teams can be.
In 2019, following a successful block of racing in France with Scottish Cycling, Oscar announced his selection to Van Rysel AG2R La Mondiale and a move to Europe. A successful season of racing and training with the AG2R feeder squad followed. In addition, Oscar undertook French lessons and fully embedded himself into the life of a professional cyclist in Europe, which have been put to the test as his increased profile has seen Oscar be interviewed by the likes of L'Equipe.
On his progression to the WorldTour, Oscar told Scottish Cycling:
"I’m really excited to be stepping up to the WorldTour next year with Team DSM. I have a lot of people to thank to get this opportunity including everyone involved in the Scottish Cycling Performance programme and many others within the Scottish Cycling community from when I started out until now. I’m looking forward to the coming years to continue my development, learning from the more experienced riders and hopefully getting some results along the way. "
We certainly look forward to seeing Oscar continue his progression and performing at the highest level, and will be excellent to see him, Sean and Anna fly the flag for Scotland on the highest stage.
You can find out more about the Regional Academy of Cycling Excellence (RACE) National Programme here.