The young Welsh climber who is making headlines in Europe
This is the rider who won the Ronde de l’Isard, right?
That’s the one. Stevie became the first British winner of the prestigious U23 French stage race held in the picturesque Ariège. He won the first two stages of the race, which both finished on a climb. He then survived a late puncture on the fourth and final day to hold on to the yellow jersey. A month later, he was fifth overall at the Baby Giro. Along the way, he had a spell in the leader’s jersey and took a stage win. Oh, and he was also top 10 at the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège back in the spring.
That’s quite a year. What does Stevie think of it?
He said: “To come away with the first two stages and the GC in Isard, that was really something special and the first breakthrough performance for me. I wanted to go to Italy and back it up and sort of prove that I could do it again. The racing in Italy is a lot different to France, so I wanted to prove that I could do it in both countries.”
Fair to say he’s a climber then?
He certainly is. Stevie weighs only 59 kilos, and jokes he’s “dead lanky”. Two years ago, The 22-year-old left the UK and the JLT-Condor team for the Dutch SEG Racing Academy in order to get more racing in the mountains. He spent 2017 learning the ropes on the Continent. He grew in confidence and this year, he’s felt strong enough to press home with his attacks.
What else should we know about young Stevie?
Stevie’s a latecomer to cycling. He was 16 when he started racing. He moved to Girona when he joined SEG, but this year based himself back home in Aberystwyth so he could spend time with friends. He finds that helps keep his morale high. The training roads are good too, he adds.
What else has 2018 got in store for him?
During the Tour, Bahrain-Merida announced they’d signed him for 2019 and that he’d finish 2018 as a stagiaire. Upcoming targets include the Tour de l’Avenir and the Innsbruck Worlds, but they depend on British Cycling selection.