British rider Ben Tulett says he was surrounded by his heroes as he sprinted to 12th place in Flèche Wallonne this week.
The 19-year-old is racing his second season in the pro peloton with Alpecin-Fenix, and found himself amongst world-class company on the final ascent of the Mur de Huy on Wednesday (April 21).
Tulett sprinted to the best result of his fledgling career crossing the line in 12th, just behind Trek-Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema, and 16 seconds behind the winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
Speaking after the stage, Tulett told cycling website Wielerflits: “I knew it was going to be tough and very explosive. I can’t say it doesn’t suit me because I did well today. But normally the long climbs should suit me a bit better than these explosive climbs. So I am very happy with today. When you see the names around me, they are often heroes or riders that I looked up to when I was younger. So I can’t complain.”
Tulett, a double junior cyclocross world champion, is part of a new wave of young British riders making immediate waves in pro cycling, alongside the likes of Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) and Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ).
After starting his career with Belgian ProTeam Alpecin last season, Tulett has already impressed in prestigious races like Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, two of the toughest one-day races on the calendar.
This weekend, he will return to Liège in the hopes of another strong result as he chases his first professional podium.
Tulett said: “It’s a new experience and I’m learning from my teammates. In every race I learn new things, which is very important for the time being. Getting good results is a nice bonus.
“Of course there is always a personal pressure that you put on yourself, you always want to get the best out of yourself. You always have your own goals and those of the team. I think that’s normal.”