Leo Hayter hands in contract to Team DSM and signs with Hagens Berman Axeon

Team DSM and top talent Leo Hayter have split up. The 20-year-old Briton wanted to make his professional debut with the 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 good listener will immediately notice that the American talent factory of Axel Merckx and Koos Moerenhout is a Continental team, just like the training 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 training team for one year and will be part of the WorldTour team from the current season.

The same construction was also offered to Max Poole. The 18-year-old Briton is making the transition from the juniors 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 said CyclingFlash know. “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 training program so that we could give it to a new, young talent.” Barlow – according to radio platoon notorious for his aggressive negotiating style – then brought Hayter to Merckx.

Getting ready for the pros
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 in Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23 that Hayter won“, Merckx continues. “Jarrad Drizners of ours 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 (such as Adrien Costa, ed.). Leo gets freedom with us, but we also reach out to him as a human being to support him mentally as best as possible. Hayter makes us stronger in breadth.”

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. Or Hayter – next to winner of the dean U23 will also be British U23 time trial champion in 2021 – has already done the same, is not yet known. The young Briton is currently on a training camp with INEOS Grenadiers. The British multimillion-dollar formation has settled on the Spanish island of Mallorca for this.

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

Flow through
In addition to Hayter, two other great talents left Team DSM Development this winter. Climber Gianmarco Garofoli (19) developed rapidly, especially in the second part of the last year, but after one season the cooperation between the two parties comes to an end. The Italian had a hard time getting used to life on the Team DSM campus in Sittard; he decided to move back home to Italy and therefore make the move to the new Astana Development Team.

Vegard Stokke has also found a new team. The 20-year-old Norwegian came over from the juniors with nobility letters in 2019, but he was not yet able to continue that development with the promises. Motivational problems bothered him, among other things. In 2022 he will try his luck in his own country with Team Coop. From Team DSM Development, the aforementioned Vandenabeele, Leon Heinschke, Marius Mayrhofer and Tim Naberman made the switch to the WorldTour team this winter.

Team DSM Development has not yet filled Hayter’s vacant position. There are talks with several talents for this.

Like Ethan, his younger brother Leo Hayter is an absolute top talent – ​​photo: Cor Vos

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