It’s been a whirlwind last couple of years for rising track and road star Ethan Hayter.
On the track, the 20-year-old has put himself well on course for the Olympics in Tokyo next year while on the road he continues to enhance his reputation with a series of superb performances.
He comes into today’s RideLondon-Surrey Classic on the back of two stage wins at the Baby Giro and a quite brilliant fifth place at the national road race championships in Norfolk.
Today’s race presents an obvious step up in class but Hayter, who’ll once again be riding in the GB colours, is keen to learn from every experience he gets.Embed from Getty Images
He said: “You’re always learning from the different experiences in each race. Obviously, I’m still maturing and still getting stronger, both physically and in terms of tactics, and getting better all the time which you’d expect from a young rider.
“You do become more comfortable the more you race but I think this might be a bit different with every team from the World Tour on the start line.
“Having more senior riders in the team with you is always really good because you’re always picking up little things. Those guys have the most experience.”
The course for the RideLondon-Surrey Classic has been tweaked for his years race with the peloton tackling the iconic Box Hill five times during a ride around the Surrey countryside before a return to the capital and the finale on The Mall.
Hayter is based in the South East so knows the roads will provide a big test for the riders.
He said: ” I think it will be a good test, especially with such a high level of opposition but the roads around there are just hard all day so it’ll be a whittling down process and we’ll have to see who is still there in the end. “
While the RideLondon-Surrey Classic is the first taste of a World Tour race for Hayter, he’s already gone toe-to-toe with riders from the top-level, most notably at this year’s Tour de Yorkshire.
Attacking on the final stage into Leeds, Hayter was the virtual leader on the road before the breakaway he was in was swallowed up by the chasing pack.Embed from Getty Images
He did, however, win his height in beer for the first rider past the Black Sheep brewery on the route.
Last month, he held the leader’s pink jersey at the Baby Giro for three days after winning both the prologue and the first stage proper.
It was a successful week for Hayter – who finished with the points jersey on his back – and his GB teammates.
Matt Walls, who is also in the GB team for today’s race, won the second proper stage while Fred Wright added another on stage seven.
And Hayter said: “We went into the Baby Giro thinking we’d try and have a go at the first few stages because they suited us a bit more and then we’d see what we could do after that.
“I got a win in the first two stages and then we worked for Matt in the third stage and he won that and then Fred got a stage win later in the week so it was outstanding for us.
“To win the points classification as well just topped it off. “Embed from Getty Images
After today’s RideLondon, Hayter says attention turns back to the track, with one eye on the World Championships in Yorkshire next month.
And he says he’s happy to keep combining the two disciplines, for now at least.
“The start of the season was based around the track and the end of the season too so it’s been a case of trying to see what I could fit in the middle and building towards the road Worlds in Yorkshire.
“We got into RideLondon as a national team and I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a feel of what it’s like at this level.
“I’m quite happy doing both road and track at the moment but maybe after Tokyo, I might have more of a road focus. It’s just up to me at this point what I do.
“I’m really excited for Tokyo. I got two medals in the Worlds this year and the Olympic events and a couple of track races through the summer have been going really well.”
Success seems to be running in the Hayter family at the moment with Ethan’s younger brother Leo picking up a win at the Trofee van Vlaanderen in Belgian.Embed from Getty Images
Leo, like Ethan, has been a regular visitor to Belgian and Holland – where he picked up another win earlier in the season – thanks to John Barclay who has spent much of the last 40 years taking the cream of young riders over the Channel for races.
Previous Barclay protégés include Mark Cavendish, Ian Stannard and David Millar to name just a few.
Hayter said: “It’s Leo’s second UCI win of the year so it’s been a pretty good season for him so far.
“John took me for a lot of trips in 2016 and I won the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne junior race and I had a couple of second places and then I broke my collarbone.
“He was really good. If you go through all the British World Tour riders he took all of them back in the day so he’s a bit of a legend.”