Raw talent is only half the game. A rider's ability needs to be honed and steered down a sustainable development path. And when the opportunity to perform arises, riders should find the support and strength they need within their teams.
This is what Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team does best: it provides the perfect environment for young riders and allows them to build upon their raw talent. The team takes rider development very, very seriously – and its success speaks volumes.
14 years. 100 riders. 41 WorldTour contracts – a legacy built on success
Founded in 2009 by Axel Merckx – Eddy Merckx's son – the Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team has arguably become the top development team in the world. With more than 41 WorldTour contracts to its credit, the list of the team's alumni is impressive. Names such as Eddy Dunbar, Neilson Powless, Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Joao Almeida are just a few of the riders who have progressed to the A-list level of cycling.
A Commitment to the Future
The performance system is complex, and several components are at play. One of the most critical ones? Of course, that the bikes are built to perform at the highest level.
Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team will be riding our lightest race bike, the Teammachine SLR.
The now 21-year-old from Decatur, Georgia was the third rider to leave the junior ranks for Axeon in 2020 after a successful beginning at LUX Development Cycling Team. In addition to the general classification win at L’Abitibi in 2019 (where he won stage 1 as well as stage 3’s ITT), he won the Cat 1/2 GC at Tour of the Gila and was 1st place at Tour of the Southern Highlands JR. Garrison earned 4th place finishes at Junior Paris Roubaix and SPIE Internationale Juniorendriedaagse (GC). He is clearly following in the footsteps of brother Ian Garrison (who at the end of 2019 departed for World Tour team Deceuninck–Quick-Step), showing early on that he has great ability in the time trial and placed 3rd at Amateur Nationals.
Not since Jonny Brown was crowned USA Pro Road Race National Champion in 2018 has a rider on the Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team worn the Stars and Stripes champs jersey on the road. That changed for the 2023 season after 2022 U23 Road Race National Champion Cooper Johnson was added to the roster. Cooper joined Axeon from Aevolo Cycling.
After almost a decade of developing some of the best cycling talent from Portugal in the under 23 ranks, the Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team added 2022 double junior national champion Antonio Morgado to its 2023 lineup. Antonio joined Axeon from the Bairrada Cycling Team.
Had Dries de Pooter not graduated to the World Tour after the 2022 season, Hagens Berman Axeon would have had two Belgian riders on the team at the same time with the signing of Maxence Place, something that has only happened once in its history (2012- Jasper De Buyst and Jasper Stuyven). Max joined the Axeon squad from AG2R Citroën U19 Team.
In 2022, the Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team was excited to announce the addition of Darren Rafferty, nine-time Irish National Champion across four disciplines: road race, time trial, mountain, and cyclo-cross at the end of the 2021 season. Darren joined the Axeon squad from Team31 JollyCycles U19.
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