Torquay racing cyclist Harrison Wood is poised to agree a second year’s contract for 2021 with leading Dutch development squad SEG Racing after a testing, Covid-hit season at international level.
The talented 20-year-old climber has set his heart on a WorldTour pro career, and SEG have a reputation for sending riders to those ranks - two more of Wood’s teammates have joined top teams this year.
The former Torquay Boys’ Grammar School pupil, who rode for VC Aix-en-Provence in France in 2019, has emerged from a first season with SEG with his reputation intact.
Now he says: “It’s been a crazy, weird year in terms of preparation and how the virus has affected everything.
“Nobody knew for a while when racing was even going to start again.
“I was hard for the team to see what I am really capable of, but they were impressed with the races I did do.
“I went straight in at the deep end, and it wasn’t easy.”
Wood finished 44th overall in the biggest race of the year, the week-long Under-23 ‘Baby’ Giro d’Italia - he was sick at the start of the event, but still helped SEG to a stage victory and finished strongly.
He was then 27th in the hilly Ronde de l’Isard in France, and he says: “Both those races will be targets for me next year.
“We have plenty of steep climbs here, but none of the length that you have to cross in France and Italy.
“In those big races, I could follow the best climbers for 15-20 minutes, but when it was longer, I realised that I just hadn’t done those sort of climbs before.
“It was a bit of a shock to the system, but I am getting stronger all the time, and I will be aiming for at least the top-ten in those events next year.
“Next year will be a big one for me.”
After a couple of weeks’ rest, former Mid-Devon CC starlet Wood will return to training around Devon next month before reporting for warm-weather camps with SEG in the New Year.