VCUK's alumni includes Adam and Simon Yates, as well as Hugh Carthy
Italian WorldTour team Lampre-Merida are looking to cherry pick the best of emerging British racing talent thanks to strengthened links with established junior team VCUK.
The northwest team, which has kickstarted the careers of current professionals Adam and Simon Yates, Hugh Carthy and Richard Handley, shares a clothing sponsor with Lampre: Champion System.
The two teams have a working partnership that is now in its third year, with Lampre pursuing the best of young British talent.
“If we have a rider who is good enough, we can basically pick up the phone and speak to Mauro Gianetti of Lampre and say you need to get this kid tested,” team director Wayne Greenhalgh told Cycling Weekly
“There was an offer on the table from them for the Yates brothers before they went to Orica-GreenEdge.
“Because of what we told them about Simon and Adam, they actually ask us if we have any riders coming through who they should watch.
Which one of the brothers knows each other better?
“Now Hugh’s racing at a good level (UCI Pro-Continental team Caja Rural), they trust us even more.”
The current group of six riders are “as good as we’ve ever had”, says Greenhalgh, who has tipped Robert Scott as a “star for the future”. Scott was second in the Junior National Road Race Championships last year and a stage winner at the Junior Tour of Wales.
First year juniors and best friends Tom Pidcock and Harry Hardcastle won a plethora of youth and local races in 2015, and Pidcock came fifth in the junior Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Zolder, Belgium, in January. Scottish rider Tom Chandler, time trialist specialist Adam Hartley and Harry Paine make up the remainder of the team.