Sebastien Claquin, EWS #2, Bariloche Argentina 2016  |  photo: Duncan Philpott

U21s – the ones to watch

8 July 2016

Since its introduction last year, the Under 21 competition has become one of the most fiercely competitive categories. In the men’s race especially, there are any number of up and coming riders that could lift the trophy in Finale’s famous Plaza at the end of the year. Here’s a guide of the fresh young faces to keep an eye out for as we move into the second half of the season.


 Sebastien Claquin

The current leader in the U21 Men’s race, Sebastien Claquin got the season off to a great start with a second place finish in Chile followed by a win in Argentina. The young Frenchman also took two trips to the podium last season in Spain and Italy, as well as picking up the French Enduro Champion title. The Rocky Mountain Urge bp rider will be at all of the remaining EWS rounds and definitely has the potential to win the overall series this year.

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Adrien Dailly

Twenty year old Frenchman Adrien Dailly is the reigning U21 World Champion after an incredible 2015 season that saw him win no less than five EWS races. Despite a strong start to the year with a win in Chile and second place in Argentina, he was forced to retire from the race in Ireland through injury. Adrien went into Ireland with a broken hand sustained just before the event, and although the Lapierre Gravity Republic rider tried to ride anyway, it wasn’t meant to be. Still after a reasonable break before round four, we expect to see him back in La Thuile and hungry to climb back up the rankings.

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Martha Gill

Nineteen year old Martha made a name for herself last year when she picked up a second place in Samoens. The Marin Stan’s rider went on to gain a further two second places at rounds seven and eight. This season will see UK based Martha take on rounds 4-8 in La Thuile, Aspen, Whistler, Valberg-Guillaume and Finale and this could well be the year she makes her first trip to the top of the podium.

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 Pedro Burns

Pedro’s 2016 season got off to a flying start when he finished third in his native Chile in round one. With top ten finishes at the following rounds in Argentina and Ireland, the Ibis Cycles racer is definitely a name to keep an eye on. Currently sitting third in the rankings, Pedro is still very much in the running for the overall this year.

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Raphaella Richter

With just two EWS races under her belt, the young German has an impressive 100 per cent podium rate – winning in Scotland in 2015 and coming second in Ireland last month. Raphaella will be competing in all the remaining rounds this summer for her team Radon Magura Factory Team and will no doubt be looking to maintain her impressive start to the year.

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Vini Crighton-Poli

Vini Crighton-Poli is the latest signing to the Steve Peat Syndicate Team. His first EWS race in Scotland in 2014 saw him take fourth place, and although he hasn’t managed to better that result yet, he’s definitely got the talent. The English rider has never finished outside the top 20 in the U21 men, and still has the potential to upset the top of the table if he can score good results

 

 


Elliot Heap

Chain Reaction Cycles Paypal rider Elliot won his first ever EWS, when he competed in the junior race in the E2 category in Scotland in 2014. Since then he’s gone on to score another top 10 in Ireland last year, as well as 11th place finishes at Finale and Scotland. This year he managed an impressive 7th at round three in Ireland against a stacked U21 field. Elliot is sitting 14th in the rankings after only one race this year, but expect to see him climb the table as he’ll competing in La Thuile, Valberg-Guillaumes and Finale this year.

 


 

Killian Callaghan

 Killian_squareAfter a stunning victory on home soil in Ireland this year, Killian marked himself out as a name to watch this year. Now sitting in 7th in the overall rankings, Killian’s EWS career is going from strength to strength. The young Irishman hasn’t just enjoyed local advantage though – he came fifth in Samoens last year – and with cousin Greg Callaghan on hand for advice he could well pick up some more great results before the season is out.