Team Skoda Racing have prided themselves on their aim to champion young New Zealand riders into racing on the world stage. In 2018 they will see two of their talented protégées heading for the international stage, with Alex West heading to Cycling Team Fruili in Italy, while Joel Yates heads to the Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek Development Team.
It’s exciting times for riders Alex West and Joel Yates at Team Skoda Racing, and a fulfilment of Team Skoda Racing’s purpose with regard to rider development. From Robert Stannard who rode with the team before joining Continental Team Mitchelton Scott, to Yates and West, the ability of Team Skoda Racing to send their young riders onto the international stage and onto success on the international stage is a massive testament to the work done by Brad Tilby, Scott Fairbairn and co.
In Robert Stannard’s first year with Mitchelton Scott, the Aussie-Kiwi 19 year old a fantastic 15 top ten finishes, four podiums and a win in the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour. Brad and Scott will doubtless be hoping for nothing but the same kind of success for Alex West and Joel Yates.
West heads into the 2018 season having already enjoyed more than a few healthy rivalries with Stannard in years gone by. He first hit our radar in 2015 where the youngster formed a crucial part of the key breakaway at the Holden Men’s Classic at the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. Back then he looked every bit at home in a break that contained riders of the calibre of Dion Smith, Aaron Gate and Sam Horgan. This year he and friend Robert Stannard went head-to-head in Gentle Annie with West coming away victorious, and then in the Gravel and Tar Classic with Stannard coming away with the honours.
West’s experiences abroad saw him exposed to racing in Belgium, Holland and Italy in 2017 as part of the New Zealand U23 team, while back on our shores he took top ten finishes in the national championships and New Zealand Cycle Classic. With Cycling Team Fruili West heads to an outfit that has been instrumental in feeding riders into the World Tour, most notably in the 2017 was the journey of Matteo Fabbro from the team to World Tour outfit Katusha-Alpecin with whom the 22 year old Italian will ride in 2018-2019.
Joel Yates will race for Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek Development Team in 2018, photo Team Skoda RacingAs for Joel Yates, his season has taken him geographically in quite the opposite direction and already has seen him run into the Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek Development Team. Yates’ time in the States saw him absolutely immersed in the racing scene over there with success on both the road and track. From omnium racing in Penssylvania to 10 mile scratch racing at the Golden Wheel event alongside many a Kiwi compatriot to taking a ‘tandemonium’ win. After an American season of strong performances Yates was given the opportunity to guest ride with the team he will be joining for the 2018 season. That opportunity came at the Gateway Cup.
Both Yates and West teamed up in Team Skoda Racing colours at the SBS Bank Tour of Southland where the team walked away with a dominant display in the U23 classification.