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British rider James Shaw fears Brabantse Pijl 2020 ‘could be the last race of his career’ as he fights to find new contract

British talent James Shaw says he fears Brabantse Pijl could be the last race of his career as he struggles to find a new contract for 2021. 

The 24-year-old, who currently races for Danish ProTeam Riwal Readynez, doesn’t have a team for next season and says he wants to continue racing his bike more than ever after a few years of uncertainty.

Shaw has previously been left without a contract when he was unexpectedly dropped by WorldTour team Lotto-Soudal at the end of 2018, as he returned to the British Continental scene with SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling the following season.  

In an Instagram post, shared ahead of his final race of the year at Brabantse Pijl, Shaw said: “This could potentially be the last time I pin my race number on. A sad thought I know. Tomorrow will be my last race of 2020 at De Brabantse Pijl and with the on-going hurricane caused by the Covid-19 virus it could be the last of my career if I cant find a contract for 2021. But I’m chasing the dream as much as I can.”

Shaw, from Nottingham, started his career as a stagiaire with Lotto-Soudal in 2016 and then signed a neo-pro contract with the Belgian squad for 2017 and 2018. 

During an interview with Cycling Weekly November 2018, Shaw said he “felt let down” after he was dropped by the WorldTour squad, as he joined the lower ranks in 2019. 

But Shaw continued with some impressive results through this period, finishing 10th in the under-23 World Championship road race in 2018 and finishing fifth overall in the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire, which all helped him step up a tier to join Riwal Readynez this season on a one-year contract. 

Shaw said: “Riwal have been the perfect fire starter to ignite my burning desire to race a bike for a living. 

“Seems strange the year I want to continue racing more than ever looks likely to be the year that forces me to turn to alternative sources of income. So if there’s a team out there any at all trying to fill spaces on your roster I’d honestly consider your opportunity a blessing.”

He added: “And lastly as I’m sure most people know the financial situations that have been cast over us all by the pandemic has caused the team to take drastic measures to ensure we can still race in the form of a monumental salary reduction. 

“If anyone out there is looking to take on a new employee for a few months whatever the work please dm myself. Can start as early as Friday morning.” 

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