News: Leo Hayter Leaves DSM

Wielerflits cycling magazine looks into why Leo Hayter has left Team DSM development team for Axel Merckx’s Hagens Berman Axeon UCI continental team

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News: Leo Hayter Leaves DSM


The 20-year-old British rider Leo Hayter (u23 TT Champion) wanted to make his professional debut with the World Tour Dutch team in 2023, but team manager Iwan Spekenbrink did not want to negotiate about that yet. Because this was important for the young climber, he was allowed to look for a new team. That team is now known: Hagens Berman Axeon.

The American talent factory of Axel Merckx and Koos Moerenhout is a Continental team, just like the Development team of Team DSM. The latter team makes good habit of signing young riders with the prospect of a professional contract. For example, the Belgian Henri Vandenabeele signed a contract in 2020 whereby he would ride in the Dev team for one year and will be part of the WorldTour team from the current season.

The same offer was also offered to Max Poole. The 18-year-old British Junior champion is making the transition from the junior ranks to the promises this winter. In 2022 he will therefore first race for Team DSM Development for a year, but Poole already knows that he will ride for the WorldTour team from 2023.

Hayter and his manager Jamie Barlow (who also has his brother Ethan and former Jumbo-Visma U23 rider Finn Fisher-Black in his stable) also wanted that, but Team DSM thought it was too early.

“We did not want to offer Leo a WorldTour contract for the year 2023 yet,” a spokesperson for the Dutch team told WielerFlits. “We have therefore given him the freedom to look for that option elsewhere. As a result, we asked Hayter to give up his place in the 2022 Dev program so that we could give it to a new, young talent.” Barlow – according to the peloton is notorious for his aggressive negotiating style which brought Hayter to Axel Merckx.

The latter is delighted with the arrival of the young Briton. “Samuel Janisch decided not to continue with us, which created room in our selection. Pretty soon we got a message that Leo might be available. When that proved to be the case after the holidays, we quickly realized that he could be of value to our team and that Leo would fit well into our core. We then offered him a contract and he signed it for one season.”

“I myself was at Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23 that Hayter won“, Merckx continues. “Our Jarrad Drizners was there with him in the breakaway. Leo really impressed me there with the way he won. He had a difficult first half year, but came back strong after that. We have experience with that. Leo gets freedom with us, but we also reach out to him as a person to support him mentally as best as possible. Hayter makes us stronger in depth.”

With Dries De Pooter (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Iván Romeo (Movistar), Hagens Berman Axeon has two riders under contract who will make their professional debut in 2023. Whether Hayter – in addition to winner of La Doyenne U23 in 2021 also British U23 time trial champion – has already done the same, is not yet known. The young British rider is currently on a training camp with INEOS. The British multimillion-dollar formation has settled on the Spanish island of Mallorca for this.

WielerFlits also contacted Leo Hayter to ask for a response, but he preferred not to respond to the situation surrounding Team DSM.


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