Reigning national road champion, James Fouche, has signed with Hagens Berman Axeon for 2020. The 21 year old moves to the team from Team Wiggins Le Col, having ended the year as a stagiaire for Mitchelton-SCOTT.
2019 was a massive year for James Fouche that started in the best way possible. In the final edition of the Napier stint as hosts of Elite Road Nationals, Fouche put in two sublime performances; first to win the U23 national time trial title, then to take the elite title in the road race. That triggered a host of results that included four top ten finishes and three king of the mountains crowns. Included in Fouche’s palmares for the season were a 14th place in Paris-Roubaix Espoirs and 6th in Gent-Wevelgem/Kattekoers-Ieper.
Hagens Berman Axeon had a great 2019 season that saw their riders take victories in Chrono Champenois Masculin International, Hafjell TT, Liege-Bastogne-Liege U23s and Le Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux. They also had a number of strong results at Chrono des Nations, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia and Paris-Roubaix Espoirs to name a few. Last year Danish rider Mikkel Bjerg earned himself a contract with UAE Team Emirates on the back of a stellar season that included the World U23 Time Trial title.
Over the years the team in its various guises has been the home of some of the most well known Kiwis of the last decade who have gone on to success at World Tour level. Jesse Sergent, Sam Bewley and George Bennett all donned the team’s colours in the early part of the last decade before going on to the highest level of the sport.
Speaking of his move to Hagens Berman Axeon in a team statement, Fouche said, “I have known about Hagens Berman Axeon for as long as I have been riding.
“There have been many Kiwis go through the program and onto the big stage; which I am hoping to do myself and believe it can be done with the help of the great staff that surrounds the team. It’s an awesome and exciting time ahead.”
The 2020 roster for the team sees five new riders join the team, with Fouche coming into the squad with Jens Reynders, Jarrad Drizners, Michael Garrison and Pedro Andrade.