• Michael Storer in one of his early successes, claiming bronze in the Mens Junior World Championships Time Trial. (AAP)Source: AAP
Young, talented and with a huge amount of power, 20-year-old Michael Storer is getting ready to make a big splash on the World Tour.
Jamie Finch-Penninger

Cycling Central
27 Dec 2017 - 12:10 PM  UPDATED 27 Dec 2017 - 12:11 PM

The fair-haired Storer is looking forward to making his debut on the WorldTour, a process which started as a youngster in Western Australia under the tutelage of his big brother. Since then he's been ticking off the goals en route to getting a neo-professional contract with Team Sunweb.

In an interview with Cycling Central, Storer talked about how he evolved into the athlete he is today.

"The most important person in helping me get here has been my second eldest brother Matthew. He's been critical in getting me where I am, he's been similar to a coach for me. He studied Sports Science and now runs his own business (Exercise Institute in Perth)," Storer said.

"He's really knowledgeable and his help with my training has really helped me take that step up to the next level. I can't emphasise how important that's been, he gave me my first strength and conditioning program when I was 14. If I didn't have that I probably would have ended up with an ITB injury (Iliotibial band syndrome) or something and I may not have made it through under 19s."

One of the key attributes of any cyclist is the ability to push beyond the pain barrier and hurt themselves towards the goal of making a move, winning a race or even just training so you can hurt yourself more in the future.

"I really developed that ability when I was 14-15, learning how to push myself," Storer said. "I got on the stationary trainer with Mark (Brooker), my coach back then, and I really developed that mental toughness."

That internal strength has put Storer on a fast-track through Australia's development pathways, coming off his junior world time trial bronze medal and getting snapped by the Michelton-Scott team in his first year of his eligibility as an under 23. He now finds himself as a neo-professional in the World Tour, but the process that got him here won't change.

"That was the long-term goal (becoming a professional athlete), but the focus has always been on the next thing coming up rather than looking too far ahead. You always want to dream about the future but I find it better to concentrate on whatever I'm immediately working for, then move onto the next thing after that," he said.

"Going back to under 17s, I was really just concentrating on trying to win the national title. That set me up for under 19s then under 23s. The next goal I'm thinking about is the National Championships road race and then I'll look at my schedule for the rest of the year.

"So going further in the race, being a better teammate or maybe performance goals, like doing a certain power for an amount of time. Hopefully, there are one or two opportunities to ride for myself, I think it's the goal of every cyclist to cross the line first."

Storer will go in as one of the youngest riders in the 2018 World Tour, taken a few years before his under 23 eligibility finished. He compiled an impressive palmares in the races where stars of the future excel. He took top finishes at the climbing-heavy stage races like Tour de l'Avenir and d'Aosta as well as taking wins in some of the hilly one-day races in Italy.

Such was Storer's talent, he got scooped up in some of the early transfer activity by Team Sunweb, joining development squad teammate Jai Hindley at the German-registered squad.

"It'll be a step up from the under 23s but I'm sure it will be manageable," Storer said. "Sunweb have been performing really well and I expect that it will suit me and what I can look to achieve.

"I've shown traits to ride as a GC (General Classification) rider or climber but maybe if I work more on my top end speed a bit I could go for those races with short, steep climbs. I could go either way and the team has that vision for me as well. I can see myself doing a lot of support riding this year. That's fun as well, cycling's a team sport and I enjoy that support role as well as riding for myself."

Storer will join fellow Australians Michael Matthews, Chris Hamilton and Hindley in what is becoming a team with a distinct Aussie flavour.

"Sunweb provides a vision for the riders they bring on," Storer said. "They are really big on developing their own riders. It's more like a champion team than a team of champions and they look to develop those riders into champions."

Whether Storer becomes one of those champions is yet to be determined, but if his consistent development through the ranks is anything to go by, he'll be one to watch.