Andrew Fenn proved himself as one of the most promising young British riders in the Under 23 World Championships road race on Friday. The An Post rider won a bronze medal, and will now step up to the WorldTour next season, but instead of signing for British Team Sky he will instead join Belgium’s Omega Pharma Quick Step.
“[Team Sky] can only take so many British guys, and they have a lot of guys on the roster,” Fenn, a former BC Olympic Academy rider told Cycling Weekly. “I talked with Shane [Sutton] and the Sky guys, but there was an option with Quick Step and I am happy to go there.”
Fenn’s Bronze medal came partly thanks his five team-mates, including Luke Rowe, who all currently ride with the Olympic Academy under coach Chris Newton. Rowe led him into the final metres, where he sprinted against France’s Arnaud Démare and Adrien Petit. Démare took the gold medal and Petit took the silver.
Rowe will turn professional with Team Sky in 2012, Fenn though, found his place with Patrick Lefevere’s Quick Step team. It may be a good option as the team dominates the spring classics, where Fenn has excelled. As a junior, he won Paris-Roubaix and this year, in the Under 23 race, he placed fifth.
“It’s going to be a good team next year, that’s for sure,” Fenn explained. “A few of the HTC guys and staff are coming, really stepping up the team with equipment and young guys. I think HTC will have a big influence on the team. Besides, the classics are where I want to be and Quick-Step is a classics team. Both of those factors add up well.”
Matthew Brammeier, Tony Martin, Bert Grabsch, Martin Velits and Peter Velits will make the switch from HTC-Highroad, which closes its doors this season as a team. Sports director, Brian Holm is also joining.
Andrew Fenn (right) on the under-23 road race podium
“It’s good,” Under 23 coach, Chris Newton told Cycling Weekly. “I think now having success on the road, a lot of the pro teams are looking at GB and thinking there is more to us besides the track. We also have a great road programme, which makes them say, ‘We want a piece of that.’”
“I followed his results in the Under 23s and we did a test with him. We knew that it was possible for him to make the podium,” Lefevere told Cycling Weekly.
Great Britain has “the money, of course. We did something similar in 1996 with Mapei, now look at Fabian Cancellara, Bernhard Eisel and Cadel Evans. Now it is the Brits and the Australians.
“Mark Cavendish is also a good one, but he’s going to the national British team to work for Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome!”
Fenn rode this season for team An Post-Sean Kelly. He said that the Under 23 race yesterday will likely be his last race of the season.
“Paris-Roubaix as a junior was my biggest win,” said Fenn. “I had two wins this year, one in the Tour de Bretagne and one in Belgium, and a lot of podium places.
“[An Post] looked after me really well and took me to some big races in Belgium, that’s where I am moving towards next year.”