Luke Lamperti: Tour de l’Avenir is like the U23 Tour de France
'Anyone who wins a stage or does well overall at Tour de l'Avenir, it’s a big deal no matter what, and it really puts you on the map,' says 19-year-old.
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American sprinter Luke Lamperti heads into the Tour de l’Avenir with his confidence high and his aim dialed in on stage wins.
The 19-year-old, who is keeping his options open when it comes to the potential of moving into the WorldTour next year, is part of a highly talented USA team that heads to France for the biggest U23 race of the season. The 10-day race, which runs August 18-28, is often seen as a crystal ball for determining future stars with former winners including Egan Bernal and Tadej Pogačar. American legend Greg LeMond was also once a winner.
Lamperti will aim for sprint wins, especially in the first week before the race reaches the mountains.
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“This is one of the races that you really grow up looking at as a U23 racer as one of the events that you really want to do,” he told VeloNews from his European base in Girona, Spain.
“It’s like the U23 Tour de France, and it’s a big deal for sure. I wouldn’t say that the level is a massive step up; the emphasis on the race is a big step up from anything else at U23 level. That’s what makes it super special, and you’ve also got the mix of racing with national teams, which means you’re racing with a completely different team than usual. It’s cool to do that as well.”
Matthew Riccitello will lead the line for the USA team when it comes to the overall standings, while Cooper Johnson is a possible last-man for Lamperti in the sprints. The final decisions on leadout will be made on the eve of the race, but Lamperti heads to the event as one of the best sprinters on the U23 circuit. He successfully defended his national criterium crown in June and has enjoyed an extensive season on the road with Trinity Racing.
“Ideally for me, I’m looking for stage wins and that’s the goal,” he added.
“I’ve looked at the route a little bit and I think that the first week suits me quite well before we go into the big mountains. I don’t think that we have a complete structure yet in terms of the team but we’ll do that in the days before the race as we ride as a group. I know all the guys from racing in the US but in the days before, that’s when we’ll figure out all the smaller logistics. We have a few guys who can fit in the role of helping me towards the final, it’s hard to say who is going the best, and I think that a lot will depend on whether it’s an uphill or a flat.”
Even just one stage win at the race would change the young rider’s career. He is already on an incredible trajectory considering his age and improving ability but the Tour de l’Avenir is a hugely prestigious race. Winning a stage or finishing inside the top-10 more often than not leads to a WorldTour deal.
‘It would prove that you’re one of the top under 23 riders and that you’re on the radar as a promising rider. Anyone who wins a stage or does well overall at Tour de l’Avenir, it’s a big deal no matter what and it really puts you on the map,” Lamperti said.
That said, Lamperti is in no rush to solidify his plans for 2023. He will concentrate on the task at hand at the Tour de l’Avenir and then sit down later in the autumn to finalize whether he remains at Trinity for another year or takes the plunge on a move into the professional ranks.
“I’m going to see how the rest of the season goes and then make a decision after that. As of right now, I’m undecided about next year. I’m in no rush and I’ll just see if I’m ready. If I’m ready then I’d love to make the step up but if not I’ll stay with Trinity for another year. It’s a really good program and it has everything that I need for right now,” he said.
“The team has had an absolutely amazing program and I think that it will only get better as the team becomes more well-known. We didn’t get into the Baby Giro but at the same time we’ve had plenty of races to prove ourselves and do good racing.”