Team Sky were pleased to welcome three young prospects out to our Mallorca January training camp.
French riders Axel Zingle and Thomas Acosta, as well as Italian rider Andrea Bagioli, joined the team for the middle training block on the island.
Working alongside our riders, including Michal Kwiatkowski, David de la Cruz and Ian Stannard, the trio were able to live and train like Team Sky riders for three days as they continue their development.
Team Sky Performance Director Rod Ellingworth explained why the team extended the invite to the trio.
He said: "It’s good to keep looking at younger guys and thinking about the future of the team. I had strong connections in France when I used to race there and have kept in touch with Christophe Andre, who works with CC Etupes. They have some good talent coming through.
"You can look at results but it’s also about people’s commitment and when people I trust say these young riders have the desire and commitment, then it’s worth giving them the opportunity even if they don’t have the results on the road. We’re always open to ideas.
"Andrea was invited through our connections with Pinarello. Thomas and Axel are fairly new to road cycling and don't have a lot of experience, but everybody was impressed by them - they coped well with the workload and did really well.
"We’ll keep looking for opportunities to bring people into camps and give people opportunities. It’s brilliant to give riders the opportunity to see how we work as a team and if we can help young guys out then great."
Zingle, 20, is a professional mountain bike rider with Absolute-Absalon and has his sights set on the 2024 Olympics, in Paris.
He said: "My Sport Director spoke with Christophe Andre and asked if I would be interested in joining the team at camp. Of course I said yes! It's been great. It’s very cool. Everything is very well planned and it’s very fun to ride with the pros.
"My objective on the mountain bike is to get a medal at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. I’ve been working towards this for a lot of years. Also, I take a lot of pleasure on the road. For the moment I’m just enjoying racing but in the future we will see. I will have to eventually pick one discipline. But my goal is the 2024 Olympics."
Acosta, 21, echoed his friend's sentiments, and hopes to keep challenging himself on the bike over the next two years.
He said: "It’s very impressive to see the organisation around the camp. There is a lot to learn from this - how everything works and is organised.
"The objective is to become a professional in the coming two years. Last season started well and then I got injured.
"The big dream would be to join a pro team at the highest level but I want to know where I stand in races at a higher level first. I will go with the flow."