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Patrick Casey is excited, but not getting carried away, after earning the place on the Bora-hansgrohe junior team, as well as a Red Bull athlete partnership (Photo: Sean Rowe)

Irish junior rider Patrick Casey has said his securing a place with the Bora-hansgrohe junior team, and the backing of Red Bull, puts him in a position to try and achieve something in the sport but was not an end in itself. The 17-year-old said securing the place in the team after a lengthy testing process was a dream opportunity.

Rather than getting carried away, he said the resources and expertise now available to him in such a professional set-up are ideal as he tries to make his mark in European cycling.

He has already represented Ireland as a junior this year – at both the road Worlds and Europeans – and is looking to take a step up next year in what will be his second season as a junior rider.

After an eight-month scouting and testing process, Bora Hansgrohe’s U19 team, Team Auto Eder, selected two riders to join the squad next year; Ireland’s Casey and Austrian rider Anatol Friedl. They have also both been backed by Red Bullunder its athlete partnership process, and will wear the Red Bull helmets next year.

Patrick Casey during the Red Bull Junior Brothers Performance Camp at the APC in Thalgau, Austria in September (Photo: Joerg Mitter)

“I’m delighted,” said Casey. “There’s not really a lot else you could ask for (as a developing rider). I think it’s such a massive opportunity, I’m over the moon. The whole package is brilliant, the most prestigious sponsorship in the sport and also a spot on the indisputably the best junior. You’re at the place to be and you’ve got a hell of a partnership to go with it.

“It’s the beginning, not the end. Obviously it’s a massive opportunity to have and a real vote of confidence – you don’t get on that team or associate with Red Bull if there aren’t people who seriously believe in you as a talent and one for the future. It’s the first step, I haven’t really got anywhere yet but it’s definitely (put me) in the right position to achieve.”

The team’s testing identified Casey – who rode for British outfit Anexo Group Race Team this year – as an athlete with noted fatigue resistance. That suggests his abilities may be best suited to stage races, even Grand Tours if he can make it to the pro ranks.

“I’m a capable climber, have good fatigue resistance, a competent time trialist,” Casey said. “I think they all go well for that sort of role, but I don’t think anyone’s ever sure until your junior years or you’ve had a bit of experience at U23 level. I’d be surprised if I end up being a sprinter. You can’t be sure, there’s such a small market for those GC guys.”

He said while he was happy with his progress this year, some parts of the 2023 season were better for him than others.

“It’s been a year of two halves. I’m not sure whether it was me doing too much or whether it’s just the place you’re in now in how the junior calendar works now. That first half until June or July was the better half. I did a fair bit of cycling in Ireland.

“I did ‘Round 1’ of the Road National Series and Rás Mumhan with the national team. That earlier part of the year I’d say probably doesn’t suit me as much with the classics and the more flat racing, but I was just a little bit more on it.”

“I got to that second part after May and I at the point with the racing where I wasn’t on it. If you’re not at 100 percent now, someone is. Half the field is peaking and ready to go, so if you’re not part of that half quite tough racing. The end of the year wasn’t as strong as the start but it was alright.”

Casey added the change of environment into a new team will involve “an adaptation phase” as everything would be new to him.

“It’s a step forward in terms of environment, setup and support – new coaches, equipment, staff, nutritionists, physiologists, it’s the works. Working in such a professional environment with the other riders is going to take some adapting to. It’s a good change.”

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