Shaw hoping to find his Forme as he steps up to junior ranks for new season
JAMES Shaw is ready to make the step up from outstanding youth rider to promising junior as the new road race season arrives.
The tall 16-year-old from Heanor steps into the under-19 ranks for the new season and will again be riding in the colours of Derby-based Forme Bikes UK.
This season, however, he will be part of a newly-formed six-man junior squad put together by the fast-growing bike brand run by former professional racer Adam Biggs.
The team will target the National Junior Road Race series and other big one-off junior events like the Junior Tour of Wales.
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But they also plan to gain some valuable experience by entering some of the top senior races on the domestic calendar as well as selected races in Ireland and on the continent.
Shaw's big highlight last summer was winning a gold medal in the UK School Games at the Olympic Velodrome – but he also won a round of the national junior series and celebrated a win abroad.
He says there are a number of factors which make Forme Bikes the place to stay to help his development.
"It's a new team with good, honest support and a great team of riders, many of whom I have raced with for a few years," he said.
"We already have a good team spirit going and we're looking to the future.
"There's a good programme of races scheduled for the season and I think we have the ability to become one of the top teams of the season."
Shaw recognises, however, that it is not just this season but the one which follows which could be pivotal in his development.
"We could be even better next year, when we will still be juniors but one year older," he said.
"I really need to establish myself as a top junior rider, as the jump from last year is a big one.
"But then I need to look to the following season to get the big national and international wins in the hope of getting either a professional contract or getting into the Olympic Academy."
Shaw will be joined in the Forme team by Alex Welburn, Chris Welburn, Ollie Maxwell, Jack King and Peter Cocker.
Between them, they offer a spread of ability from road to track and mountain biking.
Biggs said: "We are looking forward to watching this team develop over the next two seasons.
"Many of the riders have already proved themselves at the highest level of youth riding, so the transition to the junior category is an exciting prospect.
"We are a young brand, so investing in youth is the perfect fit for us, as they share the same drive and ambitions.
"We have signed some of the best under-16 riders from last season, together with some more experienced guys but, true to our roots, all of them are from the Midlands region."
Shaw will be taking part today in the Revolution 40 track meeting at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow.
But the road season will be up and running quickly with a trip to the south of Belgium to compete in the 120km Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne race.
Like so many British-based riders, the domestic curtain-raiser for the team is scheduled to be the annual Eddie Soens Memorial, which has its 52nd running on Merseyside on March 2.