Ineos Grenadiers’ continued push for young talent continued last week with the signing of 18-year-old prodigy Joshua Tarling.
The Welsh rider has been on the scene for a number of season as a rider to watch but he enjoyed a breakthrough year in in 2021, finishing second in the junior time trial at the World Championships in Belgium. This year, while riding for the Flanderscolor-Galloo Team he won the Tour de Gironde International in France and finished sixth in the Trophée Centre Morbihan, while racing in Great Britain colors. He won time trials in both races too.
Ahead of his move to Ineos next year VeloNews caught up with the Welshman to talk about his background, why he signed for Ineos, and his hopes for the next few years.
VeloNews: How did the move to Ineos Grenadiers come about?
Joshua Tarling: I always wanted it and I was lucky enough to get some results on the track and then at road Worlds in 2021. Then my agent got me in contact and it went from there. I spoke to one of the coaches at the team and it just progressed. I’m scared and excited about going into the WorldTour but I think that it’s a great opportunity to learn and develop, especially with Ineos Grenadiers. It’s the perfect team to learn and grow with. I’m more excited than nervous.
VeloNews: Was it always the plan to turn pro at 18?
Joshua Tarling: A year ago I was content with having more time in the U23s and then trying but I won a couple of races and it just came. I couldn’t turn that down. I’ve spoken to Rod Ellingworth and Dave Brailsford once before and I met one of the coaches in London. Geraint Thomas being Welsh is also a bonus. I’ve never spoken to him in person but I’m looking forward to working with him as he’s always been a role model. When I was younger I went to Cardiff to celebrate his Tour de France win in 2018.
VeloNews: How did you get into cycling?
Joshua Tarling: I did my first race at six. My dad used to race in Shrewsbury and I used to do a lap or two at the finish. Then when I was old enough I started racing the U8s for fun. I’m in quite a cycling family with my brother riding too. There’s a track down in Newport too so when I was 10 I came through the Welsh system, and I’ve just not really stopped. I also raced for the Magnus Bäckstedt team, and it was great to be part of that team and to be close to an ex-rider like that. He gave me a lot of advice and I learned a lot from him.
VeloNews: What stand out as your biggest performances so far?
Joshua Tarling: Definitely road Worlds in 2021. The time trial and the road race stood out, and the time trial was a bit of a shock taking second. I didn’t know if it was possible to win in my first year but the road race in Belgian was so sick and to be in the break for that was amazing.
VeloNews: You’ve raced road, track, and cyclo-cross. Is there any discipline you’ve not considered?
Joshua Tarling: I haven’t tried BMX. I think my mum would go a bit crazy.
VeloNews: What sort of rider do you want to be?
Joshua Tarling: I want to be a time trialist but I also want to be a racer and I think that the track teaches you to be aggressive. I want to be a time trialist crossed with a classics rider. A bit like Dylan van Baarle or Filippo Ganna really.
VeloNews: Do you have a program yet for 2023?
Joshua Tarling: Not yet. My main goal is to just get as much learning and experience in. I think that Ineos Grenadiers is the best team for that with the young riders that they’ve brought in. I want to learn as much as possible from the best riders as possible. I’ve been following the team for ages. Obviously, I remember Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour but even before that I remember seeing them perform. It’s really cool to finally get into the team.
VeloNews: Where are you going to base yourself?
Joshua Tarling: I want to go to Belgium and Andorra. My girlfriend and I are talking about learning all the roads and making the places feel like home so that when it comes to racing in Belgium, for example, I’ll know all the pinch points and where to move up.
VeloNews: What’s left for you this season?
Joshua Tarling: I’m doing the Madison championships this week and then I’m going to get ready for the Worlds with a couple of road races in preparation before that in the UK. The worlds will be a major focus for me. I’ve not been to Australia before, but it’s a big flight. I’ve been to South Africa before but never as far as Australia. I’m really looking forward to it though and it would be wrong to go there and not aim to win the title in the time trial. Obviously, I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t happen but the win is the main goal. Then I’ll have some camps with Ineos at the end of the year. I can’t wait!