Hagens Berman Axeon is thrilled to announce the signing of Darren Rafferty, nine-time Irish National Champion across four disciplines: road race, time trial, mountain, and cyclo-cross. Rafferty joins the Axeon squad from Team31 JollyCycles U19.
“I’m super excited to be making the jump up to the continental level and joining the well renowned Hagens Berman Axeon as a first year U23,” said Darren. “I believe Axeon is the perfect team for me to progress and develop with the best atmosphere to get the most out of myself.”
Darren recently finished just off the podium at the 2021 European Men’s Junior Championships in the time trial, missing a 3rd place finish by 3 seconds. He was also 8th place at the 2019 Youth Olympics in Baku, Azerbaijan. The 18-year-old from Dungannon, Ireland considers himself strong in the individual time trial as well as hilly stage races.
For 2022, Darren hopes to improve his overall cycling performance, “by perfecting all of the bike elements such as nutrition and S+C, alongside learning as much as possible from older teammates who have already experienced the U23 racing scene,” he said.
“Darren is a young rider that has progressed very quickly through the junior ranks,” said team owner and director Axel Merckx. “He has great potential and showed it by finishing fourth at the European Junior Championships in the time trial. We’re talking about someone who wasn’t well-known a few months ago and really went for the opportunity that was presented to him. With his aggressive style of riding he is going to be a great asset to the team and I’m really excited about him joining us next year.
Darren is the second rider to join the 2022 Hagens Berman Axeon roster after Kasper Anderson.