• Australian rider Brendan Canty (Drapac) celebrates on the podium wearing best young rider's white jersey after Stage 4 of the 2016 Tour of Oman (AAP)Source: AAP
Within just four years, 24-year-old Brendan Canty has gone from racing D grade at the Hawthorn Cycling Club to securing a WorldTour spot on Cannondale-Drapac in 2017. Matt Keenan spoke to the young Aussie in last night's The Discussion.
By
Cycling Central

16 Dec 2016 - 10:03 AM  UPDATED 19 Dec 2016 - 7:14 AM

It'd be easy to compare Canty's back story to that of Richie Porte's. For instance, his similar late and non-traditional start to racing bikes for a living. 

Canty came to cycling via cross-country running in his late teens, meeting triathletes at the national level in the discipline.

As a result, he started to play around on bikes for adventure, far from the experiences he had on two wheels in Around the Bay in a Day (where his mum beat him) and the Great Victorian Bike Ride, spending 40 kilometres in "atrocious" headwinds.

Then, it was just a case of Canty meeting the right people. 

"It was actually during a Hells 500 event in the Dandenongs...racing three laps of the crucifix loop, or the crux, and Andy Van Bergen who ran the thing said to me "You've got a pretty good engine, have you ever considered racing?."

"That tended to be a common theme among people who i used to ride with; more people suggesting I should consider racing because I was pretty fast up Kinglake (in Victoria) and the idea grew from there."

Canty is not just a good engine. Like Porte, he can climb. Just this year while racing for the pro-continental Drapac team at the Tour of Oman, Canty found himself alone on the Green Mountain queen stage with the likes of 2016 Giro winner Vinenzo Nibali and 2016 Tour de France runner-up Romain Bardet.

Commentators then called a Canty attack. 

"I don't know if you'd really call it an attack but there were five of us left and we were going around a hair-pin and they went really wide around the corner and at that point I was still feeling really good.

"I just went on the inside of the corner and got a little bit of a gap and the commentator said i was attacking but it was more or less riding around a different line I think.

"That was very exciting to be in that scenario in a bike race with that calibre of rider."

Canty went on to claim the overall youth classification in Oman. With such potential at such an early stage in his career, it's easy for fans and pundits to get as excited as the Tour of Oman commentators, particularly poised as Canty is for a WorldTour tilt.

Questions are asked: in 2017, will he race Grand Tours? Will Canondale-Drapac give him leadership and in what race(s)? Again, we shouldn't get too excited. The University of Melbourne commerce degree graduate remains grounded in regards to these questions. 

Canty said that with his career just starting, "I wouldn't be surprised if I don't ride a Grand Tour next year." 

"I won't expect a leadership role at all next year unless it arises naturally...for me it's about being consistent through the season and be ready to go when the team asks."

And it's the same for the Tour Down Under. "My training will be the same regardless of what my role is...I'll go in and have the best form I can, to do whatever it is the team wants me to do." 

It's unfair to compare Canty to Porte with probably as many differences as there are similarities between the two. But Canty too dreams big.

"I don't know where things are going to go but the dream's always been for someone like me to stand on the step of the Tour de France. (It's not realistic, but) I don't know what i'm capable of but I'm excited to find out."