Juan Ayuso has been one of the most promising cyclists in the Spanish youth scene for several years now. Both in cadets and juniors, the Javea one has won a great number of races, which has allowed him to make the jump to the professional category thanks to the signing of the UAE Team Emirates, with which he will have the option of immersing himself in professionalism with his eyes set on the future in the great races of the international concert.
The young Alicante promise has committed to the UAE team after its sports director, Joxean Fernandez "Matxin" from Biscay, fixed his eyes on him while he has been racing for the Cantabrian team Bathco. From here to the professional jump, without going through the sub-23 category, to enter soon in the UCI World Tour world, which includes all the races of maximum level of cycling in masculine route.
Atalayar talks to the young cyclist after all of them have left the confinement forced by the terrible pandemic of the COVID-19 that has shaken the whole world, including sport, and after the concentration in Altea of the Spanish junior road cycling team. The Alicante native talks about his origins, his career and his sporting future.
How did cycling become a hobby for a young man from Alicante like you?
When I was a child I played football, and it was there that a colleague, and now a great friend, told me to go with him to try out for the town's cycling school, C.C. Xabia. From that day on I started to combine the two sports, falling in love with cycling. Then I decided to give up football, which I had been playing all my life, to dedicate myself exclusively to what made me happy, cycling.
What characteristics define you as a cyclist? What are you looking to improve most in your features as a now professional runner?
I still don't know exactly what kind of runner I will become, whether it will be a long-pass climber, or shorter, more explosive climbs, remains to be seen. What is clear is that I will have to try to improve in all aspects, correct my defects and enhance my virtues so that the adaptation to the new category is done in the best possible way.
How do you expect to make the jump from junior to professional without going through the U-23 category?
It is clear that the jump will be great, but the team transmits me a lot of tranquility. I'm really looking forward to start this new stage and give the best version of me.
What do you expect from UAE Team Emirates? Why did you choose to sign for this team and what expectations do you have of the team and yourself?
Since day one, the team has supported me and helped me enormously to become a better rider, I am very grateful for that and I have no doubt that the best is yet to come. The ambition of the team is something that attracted me personally, it is a relatively new team and they are improving by leaps and bounds every year. For my part, I hope to continue improving day by day, and enjoy the journey.
Which cycling stars have you noticed? Which are your references or idols?
When I was a kid I used to watch Alberto Contador on TV and he was a great inspiration to me. Today, I try to learn a little bit from everyone, and I'm lucky that within the team we have great riders from whom I can learn, and who can show me the way.
What are your short and long term goals?
In the short term, I would love to be able to make a great European and World Cup, leaving Spain as high as possible. In the long term, I think it's too early to consider anything, but rather to go day by day and try to make the best possible progress for my future.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your plans and preparation?
I was going to run several races in Belgium on loan from a team there, which had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. Many of the races here in Spain have also been cancelled, I will have a very tight schedule, but I will try to do my best in every race I go to.
Your biggest dream in professional cycling?
The truth is that I feel very lucky, as I am still chasing the same dreams I had when I was six years old; one of them was to become a professional cyclist and we have achieved that. Then there's the crazy kid's dream of winning a big race: the Tour, the Vuelta, a World Cup... I hope it comes one day, I'll do everything I can to achieve it, but, to this day, these races are still dreams and not goals. I have a long way to go before I get there.
How do you expect this big step in the world of cycling to change your life when you are so young?
It's clear that my life will change quite a bit from next year, but I'm taking it in stride. Both the team and my parents are very supportive, which makes the start of my "new life" as natural and easy as possible.