• Jarrad Drizners staged a stunning late fightback to claim the Under 23 men's road race at Buninyong (Cycling Australia)Source: Cycling Australia
Jarrad Drizners, a two-time national U23 champion (road race 2020, criterium 2019) has signed a neo-professional contract for two years with WorldTour squad Lotto Soudal.
By
SBS Cycling Central

30 Sep - 8:52 AM 

The 22-year-old from Adelaide joins the team from premier development squad Hagens Berman Axeon after progressing through domestic squad Inform TMX MAKE, with whom he won the individual title in the National Road Series in 2019.

“I am still a bit in disbelief," Drizners. "I am so excited but nervous as well. I didn’t expect it at all as 2021 was not my best season, but in the last months I was able to convince Lotto Soudal.

Drizners went into the world championships as a good chance for the victory and performed well as he got himself into a late move. He was caught ahead of the finish and then had little left for the sprint, finishing 23rd. It wasn't the result that the tall former track rider was hoping for, but it came at the end of a solid series of performances.

"Since the Tour de l’Avenir I am riding at a high level," said Drizners. "I took a fourth place overall in the Flanders Tomorrow Tour and ten days ago, in Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23, they only caught me at 50 metres from the finish, otherwise I would have been on the podium. That was so devastating, heartbreaking.”

Drizners and the other Aussie Under 23 riders at the world championships reflect on the road race.

Lotto Soudal are looking forward to the arrival of Drizners to the squad, as he joins fellow Australians Caleb Ewan and Harry Sweeny.

“Jarrad will add depth to the current Lotto Soudal roster as he excels in short climbs, crosswinds and bunch sprints”, said Lotto Soudal general manager John Lelangue. “He has a big engine and likes the Belgian races. He is definitely not a climber but he can play a key role in the lead-out for Caleb Ewan and he can finish the job himself as well.

"I would compare him with riders like Brent Van Moer or Harry Sweeny. Jarrad will bring a lot of potential to the team.”

Drizners was reluctant to pigeon-hole himself into a specific role at this point of his development, he's shown in his career to date that he can do a bit of everything. 

“I still need to find out which kind of rider I am," said Drizners. "I would say a puncher, a classics riders. I love Belgian races and I like sprints, most likely because of my background as track rider.

"Now it is awesome that I can work together with Caleb Ewan, one of the best sprinters in the world. That’s so motivating. If I just could play a little part in one of his victories, that would make me the happiest man in the world.”

Jarrad Drizners is the third Australian to take the step-up to the WorldTour in 2022, with Olympic team pursuit riders Lucas Plapp (INEOS Grenadiers) and Kelland O'Brien (Team BikeExchange) already confirmed as taking the jump to the professional ranks.