YEOSU, South Korea (VN) — Patrick Bevin of New Zealand looks to be the next rider to roll down the assembly line of the Avanti Racing Team’s (figurative) WorldTour talent manufacturing plant.
After finishing a close second on consecutive days to race leader Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) in the Tour de Korea, the 24-year-old North Island native finally got the best of the 20-year-old Australian on Wednesday during the 207-kilometer stage 4 from Muju to Yeosu. Bevin remains second in general classification, but his stage victory cuts Ewan’s race lead in half to just 4 seconds with four stages remaining.
But are two second-place finishes and a stage win at a UCI 2.1 Asia Tour race enough to catch the eye of a WorldTour talent scout? Well, the reigning Oceania road race champion certainly hopes so.
“I would think I’ve done enough this season to attract some interest,” said Bevin, who has also won stages at the Herald Sun Tour and Tour de Taiwan, where he also finished second and fourth on GC, respectively.
“I showed at Sun Tour when I came away with a win and second overall, that I could ride with the best,” Bevin told VeloNews. “Taiwan was another 2.1 and I got a win there. So far I’ve raced three 2.1 tours and I have taken a win in each one.”
According to Avanti sports director Andrew Christie-Johnston, interest from the WorldTour is already there.
“Paddy Bevin is a quality guy,” explained Christie-Johnston. “He’s a sprinter, but he’s a climber as well. I tell you now there are a few teams already talking to him before we got here.
“For us to win against the likes of Caleb Ewan is pretty impressive, and hopefully a lot of WorldTour teams start looking at him.”
One person that took notice was Ewan himself.
“He came around and slipped into the last 100 meters,” Ewan told VeloNews. “I wasn’t surprised because I know Paddy’s quick from all these results from the past two years, and obviously I’ve sprinted against him in the last few stages.
“He was quicker than me today, and there was nothing I could do,” he added. “I always knew he was going to be a threat and he has proven to be so.”
Bevin joined the New Zealand-registered Continental team late last year after spending four seasons with US-based Bissell Pro Cycling, also at the Continental level.
Since the team’s inception as Praties in 2000, Christie-Johnston has rostered some impressive young talents ultimately on their way to the sport’s top division, including Sky’s Richie Porte and Nathan Earle, as well as Cannondale-Garmin’s Nathan Haas and Orica-GreenEdge’s Jack Haig. Other riders like Steele von Hoff (NFTO) and Will Clarke (Drapac Pro Cycling) have also come up through the Avanti ranks and ridden on the WorldTour.
“At the end of the day I’m here representing Avanti and trying to do the best job I can,” stated Bevin. “I said all year a lot gets made of guys going on to WorldTour, but first and foremost I’m here to race and I’ve enjoyed absolutely every moment here at Avanti.”
Aaron S. Lee is a cycling and triathlon columnist for Eurosport and a guest contributor to VeloNews.