As one of the highest-rated young riders in pro cycling, 19-year-old New Zealander Finn Fisher-Black has had the pick of WorldTour teams to choose from as he launches his professional career and opted in July for UAE Team Emirates.
As an aspiring stage racer, the choice to sign up for the two-time Tour de France champions looked like an easy one, though complicated by the fact that he was already part of the setup at the other prominent stage racing squad of the moment, Jumbo-Visma.
Following his ride in the U23 time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Flanders, Fisher-Black told Cyclingnews why he opted to make the switch mid-season, having already taken part in several races with Jumbo-Visma's WorldTour squad this year – including June's Baloise Belgium Tour, where he finished fourth overall.
"They're both kind of leading the pack at the moment," he said of UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma. "But I think that I did a few races with the WorldTour team, and I just didn't see myself fit in that environment.
"I wasn't completely happy in the team so I started to look elsewhere, and I really liked the atmosphere you can see with UAE from the outside. It's proven to be true on the inside as well. It's a really great team to be a part of and I'm really happy with my decision.
"It's a young team, it's international, and that makes for a good atmosphere between the riders. It's really good."
Fisher-Black, who joined Jumbo-Visma's development team last year and can count the Istrian Spring Trophy on his 2021 palmarès, said that he's looking to develop his stage racing and time trial skills as he heads towards his first full season as a pro, adding that he has rediscovered the joy of cycling following his move.
"I think that a GC rider is what I want to be," he said. "That's my goal over the next few years, to develop to be the best GC riders I can be. Time trialling is a big part of that, so for sure that as well.
"I'm loving it [at UAE]. It's really brought the enjoyment back into cycling for me. I'm really looking forward to the next few years with them. I think it's a great space for me and I'm really happy with the move."
Having finished 13th in the Worlds time trial, 1:05 behind winner Johan Price-Pejtersen, he'll now turn his attention to the road race on Friday and, beyond that, more races with UAE, with whom he has already raced the Vuelta a Burgos, Tour of Norway, and Benelux Tour since his transfer.
"[The TT was] pretty brutal," he said. "It was not exactly how I wanted it to go but I left it all out there so I think it was all I could do today. Not my best.
"For sure the road race is a big goal for me. I've been looking to it for the whole year so it'll be nice to get started there and see what we can do – me and the whole team. We've got a team with a lot of options so I think that if we can have all of us in the final then we've got cards to play. I think we have to take our opportunities so that's what we'll try to do.
"After that, it's potentially a few one-days in Italy. Then we'll wrap it up and head home. It should be good."
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Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content on Cyclingnews and takes on live race text coverage throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Tro-Bro Léon, Strade Bianche, and the Vuelta a España.
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