Team News: Ben Walsh (Vitus Pro Cycling)

A new name in the British peloton in 2018 will be Ben Walsh, the 2017 Junior Tour of Ireland winner who will be a first year senior with the Vitus Pro Cycling Team.

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Team News: Ben Walsh (Vitus Pro Cycling)

Another of the exciting young signings for 2018 in the Vitus Pro Cycling Team is Ben Walsh is from the west coast of Ireland who will be a first year senior with the team.

Photo: Tour of Ireland Race leader Ben Walsh of Ireland National Team in action during Stage 6 in Ennis, Co Clare. Photo by Stephen McMahon/Sportsfile

Understandably, Ben, who is still at school at the moment, was absolutely delighted when Cherie gave him the news that he was going to be on the team for 2018.

“I had already seen the first ten riders that were picked and it looked like a seriously strong roster. Going into last season, I had done a very big winter after getting a coach and felt I was in a strong position heading into the 2017 season. One of my main goals was to try and progress onto a continental team, but when that turns into reality, it’s still quite a shock!”

It is a far cry from his beginnings in the sport. “I was about 12 when I started to have an interest in watching cycling on TV and that Christmas I got my first road bike and it took off from there. I joined my local club Westport Covey Wheelers and within a year I started to take part in races”. His progress through the ranks has been steady and surefooted and Ben has come to Vitus Pro Cycling from the Nicholas Roche Performance Team in Ireland.
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“For the last two years, I have been very lucky to have ridden with that team” Ben explains, adding “which gives you a good insight into how a team should function. Being part of a team is great, as you will always be strong working as a unit rather than an individual, but being part of a team also creates a good atmosphere amongst the riders which always helps when it comes to race day. I’m really looking forward to the team camp in a few weeks where we will all get to know each other”.

Ben went on to explained to us that his main goal for a while has been to try and progress gradually and hopefully step it up each year with the long term goal of making a living out of the sport. Young Ben may be, and also from Ireland but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he is in for!

“I have watched a lot of the Tour Series on TV and heard about rider’s experiences racing in them who found the racing extremely quick! But I like the buzz around crit racing, and I feel that I can hopefully step up to the challenge of competing at the best races in Britain.”

“The longer Premier races will be a challenge for the younger riders who aren’t used to racing the very long distances, but I think the longer races will suit me better and hopefully I can adjust to them very quickly.”
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By way of example, Ben is a winner of the Junior Tour of Ireland, a race that has been won by many a talented bike rider such as Mark Scanlon, Kieran Page, Nicolas Roche, Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe, Sam Bennett, and Eddie Dunbar. When asked what his career highlights are so far, no surprise Ben says “the Junior Tour of Ireland is a personal favourite as I had a lot of family and friends supporting me for the week.”

“But, I also enjoyed Trophee Centre Morbihan Nations Cup in France this year. I had a 7th in the Time Trial and held onto 8th overall which I was pretty chuffed with. I won the Junior National Time Trial champs in 2016 and then won it again in 2017 which made it a lot more memorable too”.

Asked what his strengths are as a rider, Ben explained “I like to think I’m a bit of an all rounder but if I was to pick my strengths, I would say time trialling and climbing. Ben got to do plenty of climbing at the 2017 Worlds in Bergen which he says was his toughest race of the season. “They (TT and RR) were my biggest goals of the year but it did not go as well as it should have, but I gained a lot of valuable experience and lessons along the way.”

His winter preparing for the season ahead has been pretty grim too. “I’m still in school until my final exams in June so all my training has been in Ireland and let’s just say the weather hasn’t been good! It would be an understatement to say I’m looking forward to the team camp!”

Our final question to the young rider was to ask about his goals for 2018? “It’s big step up coming straight out of the junior ranks straight into a UCI team but I hope to make the best of this opportunity” Ben explained. “I want to be able to play a team role and contribute to hopefully the team’s success and also gain some valuable experience racing against the best in Britain!”

Our best wishes to Ben with Vitus Pro Cycling and also in finishing his studies at school.



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