American 17-year-old AJ August signs for Ineos Grenadiers

The junior from up-state New York will be joining the WorldTour in 2024

Clock20:20, Wednesday 25th October 2023
AJ August finished ninth in the junior men's time trial at the Glasgow World Championships

© Sprint Cycling Agency

AJ August finished ninth in the junior men's time trial at the Glasgow World Championships

Ineos Grenadiers has announced the signing of young American phenom AJ August on a three-year deal running through to the end of 2026.

August will be joining the British outfit straight from the junior ranks where he was one of the top riders in the European races this late spring and summer, despite living and going to school across the ocean.

"AJ has really impressed us in the time we’ve spent with him, so we’re thrilled he’s agreed to become a Grenadier,” Rod Ellingworth, Ineos Grenadiers deputy team principal, said in a press release.

"We’ve been following his progress and results this season and he’s clearly demonstrated his talent. We believe that working together we can help him reach his full potential. He’s a talented young man and it’s obvious he also has a very good head on his shoulders.

"AJ joins an exciting group of extremely talented young riders at the INEOS Grenadiers, which bodes well for pursuing the ambitious goals we’ve set ourselves."

The signing of the young American has been rumoured since the summer, but might have been on the cards from even earlier, with August having spent time with the team on a training camp at the start of the year.

"I had the opportunity to go on a team camp in January and could immediately see just how professionally it is run,” August said in the press release. “Of course it's a big jump to come to the team straight out of juniors but the team’s approach gives me the confidence that it's the right thing to do."

According to his junior team manager, Toby Stanton, at that camp it wasn’t just August who was impressed. His testing was an element that really got the wheels turning on a potential signing.

“He went and did an Ineos training camp in Mallorca this January and they did some testing on him and a Vo2 test on him and he was 92,” Stanton told GCN. "They said that they didn't have anyone that could do what he could do.”

Read more: US sensation AJ August linked to Ineos: ‘He’s Remco, but probably with more power’

That test, paired with a power test on a well known American climb called Brasstown Bald, started the rumour mill buzzing in the US racing scene. That talent on paper was confirmed when August went to the Redlands Cycling Classic, an early spring professional stage race in California, and beat a field of strong adults in a commanding performance that saw him take a stage win and second overall in the five-day race.

While the race is not a UCI event, it has been key in launching a number of careers, including Sepp Kuss, who got his first pro contract from his performance at the race.

In the junior races that followed in Europe, August was perennially in the top three of stage races, time trials and the tougher single stages. His big moment was a win in the Ain Bugey Valromey Tour, which included a commanding solo stage victory up the Grand Colombier.

While the World Championships were something of a write off as August couldn’t start the road race due to illness, he still went on to finish ninth in the time trial and it hasn’t damped the interest in the junior who has gone toe-to-toe with the big junior sensation Jørgen Nordhagen, who will join Jumbo-Visma in 2025.

On the Ineos Grenadiers, August will have the guidance of Magnus Sheffield, who not only graduated from the same junior program of Hot Tubes, but who also grew up in the same small New York town of Pittsford.

"Magnus has been key – he’s someone that I can look up to for advice. But regardless of him being in the team, it's still the perfect environment for me," August said of his fellow up-state New Yorker.

With riders like Joshua Tarling arriving on the scene and performing right away, lots of eye’s will be on August as he enters the professional ranks. Yet, on a personal level, the American is keeping his hopes restrained for the time being.

"I can't say there’s one particular race that I really want to target, but when the time is right I would like to maybe compete in a one-week World Tour stage race and see how I go,” August said.

"I’ve always been a good climber and I’ve enjoyed competing as a GC rider in the racing that I’ve done so far. My ambition would be the same in the pro ranks, but of course it will take some time to develop into that type of rider. I'm not afraid to discover and challenge myself in other areas too."

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