Skip to main content


Darren Rafferty is the second youngest rider on the EF Education-EasyPost roster; a young team that boss Jonathan Vaughters says he is very excited about (Photo: Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta-Mont Blanc)

Jonathan Vaughters counts three of Irish cycling’s most exciting prospects in his team for next year – Ben Healy, Archie Ryan and Darren Rafferty – and says he can’t wait to see what they can do out on the road.

That excitement, after successfully attracting a group of top prospects to his team, is shared by EF Education-EasyPost’s sport director, Charly Wegelius, and director of scouting, Sebastian Langeveld. While Healy has already broken through, Ryan has also won major U23 races, while Rafferty also looks destined for the big time.

“A rider like Ben Healy, we were super excited about what he did last year and want to see what he does going forward,” Wegelius said of Healy’s five-win season, when he also challenged in the monuments and collected an epic victory at Giro d’Italia.

“We’ve got a good mix of riders. Some are arriving at their peak, we’ve got some riders who are at their peak and then we’ve got this new wave of riders coming in,” added the Welshman, of nine new signings, seven of whom will be new to the World Tour next season.

Archie Ryan announced himself today with his first pro win last year, just weeks after confirming his potential on the high mountains at Tour de l’Avenir (Photo: Cor Vos)

The team has just completed the first training camp – in Girona, Catalunya – with the 2024 group. Rafferty, aged 20 years and Valle d’Aosta Cycling Tour winner this yearis the second youngest on the roster, with only British rider, Lukas Nerurkar, a few months his junior.

Ryan (22) is also one of the youngest, and having already won a stage at Tour of Slovakia while guesting with Jumbo Visma’s World Tour selection last year, he is a potential race winner from early next season.

Irish road race champion, Healy, has only just turned 23-years-old and yet the challenge for him will be to make the podium at the biggest one-day races – especially in Ardennes week – and probably make his debut, and try to take a stage, at the Tour de France.

Langeveld said he was delighted to have been responsible for scouting for the new signings – which include Ryan and Rafferty – adding the way the team raced this year, especially gaining early wins, made it more attractive to the new riders.

It’s a measure of just how well Ben Healy did this year that some of the best young talent in the world now joining his team will want to emulate his exploits (Photo: Fabio Ferrari)

“That’s why young guys want to sign for us,” he said. “I’m super excited to see what they’re capable of in the upcoming year but it’s really a process to see them develop over two or more years. I’m quite confident we’ll see some nice growth in our roster.”

For his part, Vaughters believes he has a serious group of young talents who can develop in time, but also hitting the ground running in the coming weeks and months.

“If I look at this roster on paper, I see a capable group of riders that can, and should, surprise at races from the start to the end of the season,” he said. “I think every manager says something similar this time of year.

“But we know our races aren’t won in December, and they’re not won on paper. I’m happy with the group we’ve put together. It’s dynamic, and it’s full of guys with attacking spirits. It’s very young, which is exciting, but also a big responsibility for us as managers and for the older guys on the team.”

#Jonathan #Vaughters #excited #young #riders #attacking #spirits

Source link