Two-time U23 Vuelta a Colombia winner Jesús David Peña will step up to the WorldTour with Team BikeExchange in 2022 after signing a two-year contract with the team.
“I am so excited; I am going to join a WorldTour team which has always been my dream. Doing it with GreenEdge Cycling, which I have always followed, it makes it even more special,” Peña said in a statement released by BikeExchange on Monday.
“When the opportunity was presented to me, I didn’t hesitate a second and I took it straight away.”
The 21-year-old Peña has raced for Continental outfit Colombia Tierra de Atletas-GW Bicicletas for the past two seasons. He won the general classification at the Vuelta a la Juventud in both 2019 and 2021.
Peña has also showcased his climbing ability on European roads, placing seventh overall at the U23 Giro d’Italia in 2019, when he also finished second on the summit finish atop the Passo Maniva. In this year’s U23 Giro, Peña took second place on the mountaintop finale at Lago di Campo Moro behind overall winner Juan Ayuso, who turned professional with UAE Team Emirates shortly afterwards.
Now, of course the hard part will begin, it won’t be easy to compete with the best cyclists in the world, but my motivation is extremely high and this for me is only a starting point,” said Peña.
“It’s a life changing opportunity for me and I can’t wait to move to Europe and begin this new adventure. I want to thank GreenEDGE Cycling for giving me this opportunity and I’ll do all I can to pay them back for the trust they are putting in me.”
Team BikeExchange general manager Brent Copeland welcomed the arrival of Peña but said the youngster would need to time to adapt to the WorldTour.
“The first year will be important for him to get the right experience, to feel the atmosphere of being in a WorldTour team, learning as much as possible from all our experienced riders, but then from year two, we hope he can be a solid team player in various races,” said Copeland.
“We have been presented with this exciting opportunity and after analysing stats and data of Peña with our technical staff and having the opportunity to see some of his performances, we are happy to have him with us from next season.”
Peña is the third new rider confirmed at BikeExchange for 2022 following the signing of Matteo Sobrero from Astana and the arrival track talent Kelland O’Brien.
BikeExchange had been in talks with Astana’s 2021 co-sponsor Premier Tech in recent weeks, but Copeland recently confirmed to Cyclingnews that the discussions had ended without a deal.
The squad will still be backed by owner and founder Gerry Ryan in 2022 under the name of BikeExchange-Jayco. Simon Yates and Michael Matthews remain in place as the team leaders.
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