The next generation: Meet the 2016 WorldTour stagiaires

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The first of August is known as the start of cycling transfer season (or at least the official start), the point at which teams around the peloton are permitted to announce their new signings for the first time. Somewhat overshadowed by the big-name signings are the stagiaires (French for “interns”) — promising riders who join teams on a trial basis the same day.

These young riders can’t ride WorldTour races but sign up for experience and a chance to impress. Teams are limited to a maximum of three stagiaires, and some of these riders go on to sign multi-year contracts (indeed some already have). Here’s a look at the new faces we’ll see racing for WorldTour teams for the next few months.

Ag2r La Mondiale

Benoit Cosnefroy (20), Etienne Fabre (20), Remy Rochas (19)

French club Chambéry CF provides this trio of riders, having had a longstanding relationship with Ag2r. Eight of the team’s current pros started out there, including Romain Bardet and Pierre Latour.

Rochas is a flyweight climber, who won a stage of Ronde de l’Isard to Ax-3-Domaines earlier this season. Cosnefroy and Fabre are puncheurs, with Cosnefroy shining in May’s Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour.

BMC Racing Team

Taylor Eisenhart (22), Fabian Lienhard (22)

The two latest recruits from the BMC Development Team, Eisenhart and Lienhard follow the path taken by the likes of Stefan Küng, Floris Gerts and Dylan Teuns. Both are useful stage racers, and both have been national champions.

Utahan Eisenhart was American U23 TT champion in 2014, while Lienhard won the Swiss U23 road race the same year.

Cannondale-Drapac

Jonathan Dibben (22)

Dibben moves up from Team Wiggins, where he has raced for the past two seasons. This year he finished second overall at Le Triptyque des Monts Chateaux, a race known as an indicator for future WorldTour talent. The Brit has also finished on the podium of Junior Paris-Roubaix in the past.

Dibben is already racing in Cannondale-Drapac colours at the Tour of Utah.

Dimension Data

Metkel Eyob (22), Amanuel Gebreigzbhier (21), Ryan Gibbons (21)

South African Gibbons and Eritreans Eyob and Gebreigzbhier make the leap from Dimension Data’s new Continental feeder squad. Gebreigzbhier looks the strongest of the three, ranking in the top 20 on the UCI Africa Tour last season. This year an 11th place at the Giro dell’Appennino has been the highlight of his first year in Europe.

Etixx-QuickStep

Adrien Costa (18), Ivan Garcia Cortina (20), Hamish Schreurs (22)

Schreurs and Cortina join from feeder squad Klein Constantia and both have some impressive results to their names this year. New Zealander Schreurs won the Carpathian Couriers Tour and finished on the podium of Paris-Roubaix Espoirs, while Cortina took top-10s at Roubaix and the U23 Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Costa (see feature image) is the real one to watch though, coming from the talent-packed Axeon Hagens Berman team. The Californian has had a fantastic season, winning the Tour de Bretagne and impressing in a number of other stage races. Twice a runner-up at the Junior World TT Championships, he’ll be going for gold in Qatar.

FDJ

David Gaudu (19), Léo Vincent (17), Fabien Doubey (22)

Young, French and aggressive – these are attributes shared by each of FDJ’s stagiaires. Teenagers Gaudu and Vincent have obtained some impressive results through attacking riding this year, with Gaudu beating highly-rated Tao Geoghegan Hart at the Course de la Paix.

Meanwhile, stage racer Vincent finished third and fourth at the Ronde de l’Isard and Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc. Doubey is a former U23 cyclocross champion and rode for the team as a stagiaire last season.

Giant-Alpecin

Jochem Hoekstra (23), Max Kanter (18), Martijn Tusveld (22)

First-year U23 Kanter was an impressive stage racer as a junior, and his best result this year has been third overall at the Carpathian Couriers Tour. Hoekstra looks like a stage hunter, but didn’t have a great 2016 with Parkhotel Valkenburg. Meanwhile Tusveld is a two-time runner-up at Paris-Roubaix Espoirs.

LAMPRE-MERIDA

Fausto Masnada (22), Edward Ravasi (22), Oliviero Troia (21)

This trio of riders come from Italian amateur squad Colpack, which has been a dominant force in Italy this season. Davide Villella, Edoardo Zardini and Giulio Ciccone have passed through the squad in recent years and will be joined by Ravasi, who has signed a two-year contract with the team.

Ravasi is a climber who has enjoyed success at the Giro della Valle d’Aosta the past two seasons. Masnada and Troia, have had successful seasons too, and all three are in the top 11 on the national U23 ranking (Ravasi lies second).

LOTTO SOUDAL

Kevin Deltombe (22), Michael Goolaerts (22), James Shaw (20)

All three hail from Lotto’s U23 squad, with Deltombe and Brit Shaw looking handy Classics racers. Deltombe is one for the hills, while Shaw has won the junior versions of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. This year he was fifth at U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Ex-Verandas Willems man Goolaerts is a stage hunter.

MOVISTAR

Richard Carapaz (23)

The first Ecuadorian to join a WorldTour team, Carapaz will also ride the Olympic road race. He spent part of this season riding for Spanish amateur team Lizarte, which has provided many riders to Eusebio Unzué’s Movistar squad over the years. Last year he won the U23 Vuelta a Colombia. Definitely one to watch.

ORICA-BIKEEXCHANGE

Nick Schultz (21)

A member of the Dutch-based SEG Racing Academy, Schultz has proven his worth as a GC rider this season. A stage win at the Tour de Bretagne was followed up by seventh overall at the Ronde de l’Isard and a strong all-round performance to finish second at the Oberösterreichrundfahrt (U23 Tour of Austria).

The Brisbane-native makes his Orica-BikeExchange debut at the Vuelta a Burgos.

SKY

Owain Doull (23)

Like Cannondale-Drapac stagiaire Jonathan Dibben, Welshman Owain Doull has also been a part of Team Wiggins in 2015 and 2016. The highlight of his time there so far has been third overall at last year’s Tour of Britain, picking up the points jersey in the process.

He is a sprinter who can also climb and time trial well. He is committed to Sky through 2018.

TINKOFF

Davide Ballerini (21), Lorenzo Fortunato (21), Andrea Montagnoli (20)

This trio of Italians comes from associated Italian U23 squad Hopplà-Petroli Firenze-Tinkoff. Ballerini (no relation to Franco) looks the best prospect, though probably a stage hunter at best. Fortunato and Montagnoli have no major results to speak of.

(It’s worth noting that the team will not continue past this season. While this means the stagiaire slots will not translate into contracts with the squad, the trio do have a platform to learn and to showcase their ability.)

TREK-SEGAFREDO

Jacopo Mosca (21), Piet Allegaert (22), Jose Luis Rodriguez (22)

Allegaert comes from Trek’s feeder squad EFC-Etixx (confusing, I know). His speciality seems to be the Classics – he finished seventh in Paris-Roubaix Espoirs this season. Mosca is a solid, if not outstanding talent on the Italian U23 scene.

Chilean Rodriguez looks a strong talent from a country that isn’t renowned for its cycling. He has been riding for the UCI’s World Cycling Centre this year and won the U23 road race and time trial at the Panamerican Championships. Ninth place overall at the Giro della Valle d’Aosta shows he’s a decent stage racer too.

***

Two teams — Katusha and the soon-to-disband IAM Cycling — are not taking on any stagiaires this season.

Astana and LottoNL-Jumbo have, at the time of writing, not announced any stagiaires and are yet to respond to enquiries.

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