Brussels, Belgium, January 10, 2023 – Axeon is thrilled to expand its reach into the next generation of cyclists and to advance young talent by forming a long-term cooperation with Willebrord Wil Vooruit Juniors. The team aims to provide educational cycling-related activities, and create unforgettable experiences for the young riders of Willebrord Wil Vooruit Juniors, with equal opportunities for youth from diverse ethnic, cultural, and national backgrounds.
“With cycling changing so fast and young riders evolving so quickly, it was important for us to make a connection with a well-known junior team that complimented our style of development and whom we could trust,” said Axeon owner and director Axel Merckx. “This new relationship with Willebrord Wil Vooruit will also provide us an opportunity to give certain riders a place to develop as juniors when they did not already have a team or needed a different team to better suit their needs and goals. I think that WWV is not only accustomed to the racing scene in Europe, but they are also quite welcoming to many riders because they speak English. So whether you are a rider from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, or the United States, you have a team that is already somewhat familiar and can provide for development in Europe.”
Founded in 2009, the Axeon program has become widely known as the top developer of youth talent in cycling, now in its 15th racing season. The program has seen 48 riders graduate to the UCI WorldTour ranks. The current iteration of Hagens Berman Axeon consists of 13 riders from around the world. In 2024, the team will feature 16 riders and compete in an extensive schedule of professional cycling races worldwide.
“Willebrord Wil Vooruit feels honored to enter into a collaboration with the Hagens Berman Jayco Cycling Team (Axeon Cycling) of Axel Merckx,” said WWV director Davy Gunst. “We believe that the identities and beliefs of our teams in order to develop young cyclists are very closely related. The joint training of talented cyclists, both nationally and internationally, is therefore a very nice follow-up. In the past we were over the last 25-years already able to develop the many national (recently: Olav Kooij, Dylan Groenewegen, Jan Maas) as well as international talents (Ben Tulett, Finn Fisher Black, and Lukas Eriksson), we believe that this collaboration will be a further incentive to continue the development of rider- as well the person behind the cyclist.”
About Axeon Cycling Founded in 2009, Axeon Cycling has developed 108 riders and graduated 45 to the World Tour. The team is owned and managed by former professional cyclist Axel Merckx.
About WWV The cycling club Willebrord Wil Vooruit was founded in 1946 and is located in St. Willebrord municipality of Rucphen in the Netherlands.