In a cycling world increasingly dominated by a new generation of upcoming and spectacular talents, you always get the feeling that the new sensation might be just around the corner. A promising candidate to join such group comes from Belgium, is just 19 years old and has already been labelled as the new Remco Evenepoel (who is barely 22 himself…), and has just broken into the Pro’ peloton after making the double jump directly from the junior ranks.
Cian Uijtdebroeks is expected to make his first appearance at the Tour of the Alps on 18-22 April. The Belgian will ride the Euro-regional race without the pressure of a result for his BORA-hansgrohe team but will be motivated to test himself against several top riders in only his third professional stage race. A few months ago, the talented Belgian has lots of attention on himself at the UEC Road European Championships in Trentino, where he won silver in the junior time trial.
“I had a good start to the season at the Saudi Tour, but then I got sick. We decided to take a longer break with my team because I am young and there is no reason to rush things. After some rest, I did some really good training blocks and was ready for the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. Unfortunately, I crashed on the last stage: this is cycling, and I still have a lot to learn, I'd say", said Uijtedbroeks about his early months as a pro.
The Tour of the Alps, which will start on Monday April 18 from Cles, is certainly a significant challenge in his learning curve. Those who know him well suggest stage races might be his land of conquer in the future, but the pro career is still in its very early going for the Belgian.
“I am 19 years old and I have just started my pro career. I want to improve as a cyclist and every race is important for me. The Tour of the Alps is a great race, and it is another opportunity to learn for me. The stages are hard but not too long, that should suit me”.
In the meantime, the Tour of the Alps will also be an opportunity to return to the roads of the Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino Euregion after the good experience of the European Championships last September.
“I have good memories about Trentino. As every cyclist, I like Italy a lot: the fans are amazing, the passion for cycling is like in Belgium, and the food is even better”, Uijtdebroeks explained.
At the start of Cles, Uijtdebroeks will be part of what should be a highly competitive Bora-hansgrohe team with Dutchman Wilco Kelderman as leader, but with other cards to play: from German Lennard Kämna to Italian Matteo Fabbro and Austrian Patrick Gamper.
“My role will be to support Wilco in the mountains. It will be a hard race and we need to work together well as a team. Maybe we’ll have different cards to play, but we need to see first how the race plays out”.
At BORA-hansgrohe, there is no place for proclamations, but the Tour of the Alps has often proved to be a springboard for promising riders. Cian Uijtdebroeks is in no hurry, but in today’s cycling it’s never too early to break out.