Seven young road racers, aged 16 to 22, have been selected by Giant and Team Kern Pharma to be part of Giant’s new Grassroots program. Of those seven, three will be selected to ride with the Spanish UCI ProTeam’s amateur development squad, Team Finisher, in team training camps and at select races later this year, giving them a chance to learn, develop and attempt to navigate a path to the pro peloton.
The riders were selected through a collaborative process with Giant sales companies around the world. The initial list included riders from 11 different countries. Their information, including their age and power profiles, were submitted to Kern Pharma coaches, who evaluated them and narrowed the list down to seven young athletes representing diverse backgrounds and nationalities including Taiwan, Uganda and several European nations.
“We are excited to launch this new program that identifies and gives young talents a chance to realize their dreams of becoming professional road racers,” said Giant Group Branding and Marketing officer Phoebe Liu. “We believe that providing a good environment, with adequate training and opportunities, can be of significance as they attempt to leap onto the world stage.”
The seven riders chosen for the initial Grassroots program include:
- Thomas Landman, 16, The Netherlands
- Paul Lomuria, 21, Uganda
- Daniel Lond, 20, Denmark
- Li Ting Wei, 22, Taiwan
- Tom Williams, 19, United Kingdom
- Tommy Wu, 17, Hong Kong
- Lin Min Ze, 17, Taiwan
The program kicked off earlier this summer with a 10-day training camp in Spain. The seven riders trained together under the guidance of Kern Pharma and Team Finisher coaches and underwent a battery of tests.
The setup was similar to a pro team training camp, with nutritionists, massage therapists and team management on hand. The riders trained on a variety of roads, from flat rides to big mountain climbs. They practiced their skills and participated in team time trials.
“We try to help them grow and become professional riders,” said Team Finisher coach Iosune Murillo. “We did some health and performance tests, so we can evaluate which point they are at and their abilities. It’s not just lab tests, we also want to test how they respond to huge efforts, how skillful they are, and what potential they have.”
British rider Tom Williams said the initial training camp provided a rare look into the life of a pro road racer. “It gives us an opportunity to live the life of a pro and kind of see how a pro team runs,” said the 20-year-old from Bristol. “It gives us a chance to train, eat, recover, get the massage, do the testing. Everyone enjoys cycling, but not everyone knows what it’s like to live like a pro.”
Based on their performances and potential, as evaluated by team coaches, three of the riders will move on to the next phase of the program, a chance to train and race with the Team Finisher team for a limited time later this year. From there, each of those riders will have a chance to continue rising through the ranks, with the ultimate goal of making it to the Kern Pharma UCI ProTeam squad.
For more on the Giant Grassroots program, click here.