A moment to remember.

The heartwarming story behind Jumbo-Visma’s 12-year-old ‘recruit’

A breakaway, a bottle, and a moment to remember.

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

Jump To Comments

The 2021 Tour of Britain delivered a spectacle beyond its standing in the calendar, through the pluck of Ethan Hayter, the dynamism of Julian Alaphilippe, or the raw power of eventual winner, Wout Van Aert.

But there’ll be one moment that endures beyond the winners on the results sheet – the viral moment delivered by Xander Graham, a 12-year-old spectator. 

On stage 7, from Hawick to Edinburgh, a breakaway of six was clear of the peloton when a slight figure on the pavement sprung into frame.

That was Graham, riding a light blue bike and accelerating hard out of the saddle to form a breakaway of his own. For more than 50 seconds, to the amusement of the TV commentators, he kept the pros at bay. Finally, his legs tiring, he sat down, resigned to his fate. As the riders passed by, Jumbo-Visma’s Pascal Eenkhoorn extended a bottle to the 12-year-old. 

Happily, the UCI didn’t fine anybody for improper disposal of bidons, and the world kept turning. The global audience who’d seen the whole thing felt a little bit happier about the state of humanity. Pascal Eenkhoorn proved to be a lovely guy. Xander Graham got a bottle and an experience he’ll remember for the rest of his life. 

It was, in a nutshell, everything that is wonderful about cycling. 

On stage 8, the story got even better. The Tour of Britain race organisers somehow located Graham and invited him to the start village, where he got to meet his heroes, fist-bumping with Mark Cavendish and hanging out with Eenkhoorn. 

It turns out that Eenkhoorn’s team, Jumbo-Visma, had something special in store, too, taking him under the wing for the morning. 

After presenting Graham with a signed Jumbo-Visma jersey, he was invited to join the team up on stage at the team presentation.

There, kitted out in yellow and black and standing between Eenkhoorn and George Bennett, he was introduced as Jumbo-Visma’s fifth rider.  

Cycling: no other sport like it. 

Editors' Picks