From obscure climbers to unknown multiple-time winners: keep an eye on these new TDT-Unibet riders in 2024 Cycling

From obscure climbers to unknown multiple-time winners: keep an eye on these new TDT-Unibet riders in 2024

From obscure climbers to unknown multiple-time winners: keep an eye on these new TDT-Unibet riders in 2024

On February 8, TDT-Unibet is kicking off the season with the Tour of Antalya, and the new team is immediately bringing a bunch of unknown riders to Turkey. Ever heard of Frenchman Axel Huens or Brit Charlie Paige? TDT-Unibet can rightly be called a foreign legion. A team full of obscure climbers and unknown multiple-time winners from various countries. In this article, puts the spotlight on five interesting newcomers to TDT-Unibet who could surprise you in 2024.

Only three riders on the Bas Tietema squad have experience at the highest levels of cycling. Two riders don't even have experience at the continental level and are coming directly from a club team. At the premiere of the documentary about TDT-Unibet, Tietema told our website that scouting was deliberately done this way. "We only looked at what riders can achieve in the future, not at what they have done in the past. We are known as that team with the fun videos, but I am particularly interested in the sporting aspect. I think there are a lot of guys on our team who are really going to surprise people."

Charlie Paige

From obscure climbers to unknown multiple-time winners: keep an eye on these new TDT-Unibet riders in 2024
Charlie Paige is a talented climber at TDT-Unibet

"A good example of such a rider who could surprise people is Charlie Paige," said Tietema in December. Paige is a 23-year-old climber from Great Britain. He spent the past two seasons with Bourg-en-Bresse Ain Cyclisme, a highly regarded amateur club in France where Victor Lafay and Rémy Rochas (among others) have also competed in the past.

In 2023, Paige competed in many major races and performed slightly below the highly regarded U23 riders, finishing fourth in the grueling Giro della Valle d'Aosta, behind Darren Rafferty (now EF Education -EasyPost), Alexy Faure Prost (now Intermarché - Wanty) and Isaac Del Toro (now UAE Team Emirates). He found himself in no man's land, two minutes behind third-place Del Toro and two minutes ahead of fifth-place Witse Meeusen.

And this was not necessarily an outlier performance. He also finished seventh in the Alpes Isère Tour, won by Lennert Van Eetvelt, and won the national climbing race Tour du Piémont Pyrénéen. Tietema is brimming with confidence, because when asked about hidden gems in his selection, he immediately mentions climber Paige. He is also part of the team in Antalya, so keep an eye on him in 2024. He is a man who seems to thrive most of all in the tough mountain stages.

Baptiste Huyet

From obscure climbers to unknown multiple-time winners: keep an eye on these new TDT-Unibet riders in 2024
Baptiste Huyet during training camp with TDT-Unibet Pro Cycling

Baptiste Huyet is undergoing a similar development to Paige. The 23-year-old Frenchman is the second pure climber in the selection of TDT-Unibet and, like Paige, comes from Bourg-en-Bresse Ain Cyclisme, though he also completed an internship of just under half a year at the continental team Van Rysel - Roubaix Lille Métropole at the end of 2023.

Huyet, like Paige, finished in the top ten of the Alpes Isère Tour, where he was tenth. He really began to impress when he started his internship with Van Rysel. In the Tour de l'Ain, he finished 21st in the general classification for that team, directly behind the previously mentioned Faure Prost, and ahead of riders like Andrea Piccolo. In terms of time, he was closer to the third place in the standings than to the 23rd. To give an idea of the caliber of riders in the top ten: Michael Storer, Kenny Elissonde, Sébastien Reichenbach, Jésus Herrada and Rudy Molard were competing at the front in that race.

Huyet's results may not be as notable as Paige's, but Huyet has already been tested against professionals and therefore entered the winter with more knowledge and experience. We expect the most from Paige in the high mountains, but Huyet is definitely a man to keep an eye on.

Cedrik Bakke Christophersen

cedrik bakke christophersen tdt unibet
Cedrik Bakke Christophersen in his new team jersey

Cedrik Bakke Christophersen is another very interesting TDT-Unibet rider, but we still have some questions as to his exact specialty. The 22-year-old Norwegian is excellent on hilly terrain, but unlike Paige and Huyet, he has so far shown more promising results in races where the time differences are limited. By which we mean that Christophersen climbs extremely fast, but he has yet to compete in many races in the absolute high mountains.

This makes sense though, since he has only focused fully on cycling for just over a year now. Christophersen was initially a triathlete. The Norwegian impressively finished tenth in the Arctic Race of Norway in 2023, a 2.PRO race, filled with highly regarded riders like Dylan Teuns, Tobias Halland Johannessen and winner Stephen Williams. Just before that, he also finished seventh in the Tour of Qinghai Lake. In the Peace Race, a highly regarded U23 race in the Czech Republic, the young rider finished fourth in the general classification.

Of the TDT-Unibet climbers, Christophersen has the most impressive resume, which will undoubtedly help him with the step up to the pro continental level. He has delivered some great performances last season, especially in the mid-mountains. However, it would be unfair to label him prematurely. He also finished seventh in the challenging gravel classic Gylne Gutuer and performed well in the toughest stages of the Peace Race. So, it seems that the Norwegian could go in any direction, but for now appears to primarily be a climber.

Adam Toupalik

From obscure climbers to unknown multiple-time winners: keep an eye on these new TDT-Unibet riders in 2024
Adam Toupalik joins TDT-Unibet as multiple-time winner

Let's move away from the climbers and young talents. The 27-year-old Adam Toupalik is one of the most interesting riders within TDT-Unibet. The Czech, who once gained selective fame by thinking he had won the Cyclo-cross World Championship, has racked up win after win at the continental level. In 2023, he achieved five UCI victories, including one at UCI.1 level and four at UCI.2 level. All five victories were secured with a lead of at least two and at most seven seconds.

Toupalik has a winner's instinct and is great at choosing the right moment to strike, except for that particular World Championship. He seems to primarily shine on short, explosive hills and, in this regard, Toupalik could play a key role in the classics core of TDT-Unibet. In 2023, he won four one-day races and one stage in a stage race.

Axel Huens

From obscure climbers to unknown multiple-time winners: keep an eye on these new TDT-Unibet riders in 2024
Axel Huens is having a good time at the TDT-Unibet training camp

The fifth rider on this list is Axel Huens, the second Frenchman listed. Unlike Huyet, this young man is far from a climber, specializing instead in Flemish and Northern French races. For instance, he finished fifth in the Kattekoers (Gent-Wevelgem for U23), sixth in the Dorpenomloop Rucphen and fourth in a challenging stage in the Tour du Loir et Cher (where he also finished tenth in the general classification).

Huens is not just good in the spring though, far from it. He continued to achieve impressive results in the summer. He finished third at the French U23 national championship, was fifth in the Hel van Voerendaal, and ended the season with a fourth place in Paris-Tours for U23. Finishing off races does not seem to be Huens' strongest point yet, but he has often come close. Under the guidance of a classics specialist like Andreas Stokbro (a Danish acquisition for TDT-Unibet, with WorldTour experience at NTT Pro Cycling and Qhubeka-Assos), Huens might learn to use his strengths to actually start winning.

Bonus: Jelle Johannink

Finally, we want to give a brief mention to the Dutchman Jelle Johannink. This 27-year-old rider has until recently spent half his time on the farm and has not really lived the life of a full-time professional cyclist. "That's why we see a lot of potential in a guy like him," says Tietema. He is made for the classics and hopes to compete in the final of the Amstel Gold Race, so he explains in a Tour de Tietema video.

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments

More Cycling News