Rory Townsend opts to continue with Canyon dhb SunGod

British-based rider clocked up strong results at this year’s Tour of Britain

Rory Townsend (left) with Jacob Scott of Team Canyon DHB Sungod. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Rory Townsend (left) with Jacob Scott of Team Canyon DHB Sungod. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

 

Irish international Rory Townsend has backtracked on an earlier declaration that he would likely step back from high level cycling, with the British-based rider confirming that he will continue with his Canyon dhb SunGod team in 2022.

Townsend has competed with the squad for the past four seasons and clocked up several strong results this year. Those included placings of fifth, sixth and sixth on stages of the Tour of Britain in September, as well as third in the mountains classification. Earlier in the season, he won a stage plus the points classification in the Tour de la Mirabelle in France, and also took top-10 finishes in the 1.1 ranked Ronde van Limburg and Heylen Vastgoed Heistse Pijl.

Townsend set his sights on a top-level WorldTour contract, something the 26-year-old described as ‘bang or bust’ in October. He said then that if he didn’t secure a deal with a top team he wouldn’t continue with Canyon dhb SunGod and would scale back his commitment to the sport.

“It’s not an option for me anymore, unfortunately,” he said at the time. “It’s basically a financial thing. I simply can’t afford to carry on the way I’m going.”

Townsend has now confirmed to The Irish Times that he went on to have discussions with two WorldTour teams. He said that talks with one of the sport’s two top-level American squads saw him reach the final two in the interview process, but that ultimately neither got the nod. “They had a rider who used to ride for them and who got dropped off his [current] team. He was an American and they just kind of went with what they knew.”

He said a similar situation occurred with a Belgian WorldTour squad. He was one of three riders under consideration, but said that the team ultimately opted to sign a Belgian.

Undeterred, Townsend told The Irish Times that he is convinced he will be a better rider if and when he is able to step up to WorldTour. He acknowledged that achieving greater consistency in results in 2022 could make the difference in helping him to finally secure a place in the sport’s top level.

He will chase that goal with the Canyon squad, saying that the team manager Tim Elverson was both supportive of him returning for another season, and also agreed to release him if a bigger contract came along.

“Thankfully the team is in a pretty good place going to next year, better than it has been. So that’s nice,” Townsend said. “There’s a load of new sponsors so in a weird way, it will kind of be like a bit of a fresh start, to some extent.”

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