World Tour riders – where do they come from?
Many have come up through the US ‘development’ team run by Axel Merckx; originally sponsored by Trek then Bontrager and last year Bissell, this year he’s created the ‘Axeon’ brand which will remain irrespective of sponsor changes – with Cipollini and SRAM among the 2015 names on the jersey.
Taylor Phinney (BMC), Lawson Craddock (Giant-Alpecin), Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale-Garmin), Ian Boswell (Team Sky), Alex Dowsett (Movistar), Ben King (Cannondale-Garmin) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek Factory Racing) have all been helped on their way by Merckx.
On his books for 2015 is Kiwi, James Oram who we first spotted when he won the 2011 Tour de l’Abitibi in Canada – the ‘Junior Tour de France’ with Bobby Julich, Tyler Farrar and Taylor Phinney all on the roll of honour.
Later that year Oram took silver in the Junior Worlds TT and for the last three seasons has been with Merckx.
Last season he cracked the top ten in the Tour of Alberta and World U23 TT Championships.
He’s kicked off 2015 in fine style with a win in the New Zealand U23 TT Champi