DUNAMANAGH’S Adam Ward decided to take a gap year before moving to the University of Ulster, Jordanstown, with the intention of spending the winter living and training in Spain.
He had no concrete plans after that with regards to teams or racing, but in the last week that changed when he was signed up by Girona-based outfit, Antiga Casa Bellsolà, who have launched an under-23 team for 2020.
And 19 year-old Ward, who won fourteen races in a stunning final year as a junior in 2018 with Powerhouse Sport before graduating to the under-23 ranks last year with Bio-DHL-FRS, winning the East Tyrone GP, Tour of the Mournes and Madigan GP, and represented Ireland at the Kerry Group Rás is delighted with the opportunity, which came out of the blue.
“I got a message from Frank Campbell, my old team manager at Bio Racer, a few months ago and he had heard about an opening on a team in Spain, that they were opening an under-23 team this year,” he explained.
“I sent off my CV and I got word back that I had a place on it, which is pretty good. I’m happy because I’m in Spain at the minute, working in a cycle shop and training.”
Adam is currently living and working in the south of Spain, near Granada where, after a visit home for Christmas, he will return until March before moving north to Girona where he will joining his new team-mates.
Although unsure about his schedule for 2020 at present, the talented teenager knows he is in for a challenging season in mainland Europe.
“It’s daunting. I’ve raced in Majorca before but never in mainland Spain, so it will be a new experience. I don’t know how much the terrain will suit me, but I guess we’ll find out!,” he said.
“I’ll put the work in before hand but I’m excited to see how it goes. I’ve taken a gap year before university, so there’s no better place to spend it to see if I have what it takes.
“I think there are a few UCI races on the cards, maybe a couple of events in Belgium during the spring, so that might suit me more!”