Ethan Hayter out to make most of ‘big opportunity’ at Road World Championships

Ethan Hayter hopes to celebrate his birthday this weekend with victory at the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong, Australia.

World track champion Hayter, who won the omnium title in October, turns 24 on Sunday when he will target at least a podium finish in the time trial.

He said: “It’s a big opportunity to come here and race. I really want to medal at the weekend, or even win, so we’ll see how that goes. But if I don’t it’s not the end of the world either.”

Ethan Hayter defended his time trial title at the British National Road Championships in June
Ethan Hayter defended his time-trial title at the British National Road Championships in June (Steve Welsh/PA)

Hayter heads up a 26-strong Great Britain team and will contest both the men’s time trial and road race, which takes place the following Sunday.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider, who has had an impressive season on the road, will celebrate his birthday Down Under with parents Tim and Nicky.

“I’ve got nothing planned but my parents are coming out, so maybe there’s a surprise waiting,” he said.

Hayter won the Tour of Poland last month, was twice a stage winner at the Tour de Romandie and had podium finishes at the Criterium du Dauphine.

His Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana was cut short after he tested positive for Covid-19, but he said he is in great shape to contest with the favourites in Wollongong.

“I think the main challengers are the same as last year really,” he said. “The Alaphilippes and Van Aerts, Tadej Pogacar’s been looking quite good as well, so throw a few Brits in there and we’ll see what happens.”

Fred Wright has joined Hayter in the elite men’s team, alongside Ineos team-mates Ben Turner, Ben Swift, Ben Tulett and Luke Rowe, plus Jake Stewart and Connor Swift.

Olympic and European mountain bike champion Tom Pidcock, who won his maiden Tour de France stage with a brilliant solo victory on the Alpe d’Huez, has opted not to make the trip.

Hayter said: “Tom was going to be the main leader here and it’s a real shame he’s not made it, but we understand his decision and he’s got to do what’s best for him.”

Wright also has high hopes in Wollongong after three podium finishes on Grand Tour stages this year.

Hayter added: “Fred knows he deserves to be in there. He was top five for about half the Vuelta stages this year, as well as a couple of the Tours.

“He’ll win some races soon and we’re just really enjoying it to be honest.”

Pfeiffer Georgi and Anna Henderson head up the women’s team and are joined by Anna Shackley, Lizzie Holden, Elynor Backstedt and British road race champion Alice Towers, who will make her Great Britain debut.