Conor White takes big step towards professional dream
Conor White has taken a huge step towards realising his dream of joining the professional cycling ranks after being signed to X-Speed United Continental Cycling Team’s roster for 2021.
The 21-year-old had been in fine form in recent months, following up a third-place finish in the White Swan Time-Trial in Hamilton, Ontario, by clinching second place in the Hamilton Cycling Club Time-Trial.
His endeavours obviously caught the eye, with Rick Lee, White’s former head coach at the National Cycling Centre Hamilton in Canada, approaching him to join his ranks at X-Speed United Continental.
The Brock University student can look forward to possibly testing himself in the UCI Continental Circuits season next year ― effectively the third tier of cycling, below the UCI Pro circuit and UCI World Teams circuit ― which involves five circuits representing Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
“It’s really exciting news and a really positive step in my progression in the sport,” said White, whose contract with X-Speed United ― a joint initiative to develop young riders from Western Australia, Canada and Hong Kong ― comes into effect on January 1.
“The deal has been a possibility for a little while, but recently Rick Lee reached out to me about joining up. He knew me from our time at the NCCH, where he was head coach, and now he heads up the Canadian area of X-Speed United.
“It’s a step below the professional ranks but there has been races where some of the Continental riders have competed against the Continental Pro and World Pro Teams depending on the classification of race.
“A lot depends on the Covid-19 situation, but I think the aim of the team next year is to get most of us racing over in Europe, which would be hugely exciting for me. It would be a massive step on a personal level.”
The move represents another significant climb White’s rapid progression in the sport, having started riding seriously only as a 15-year-old — first through mountain biking before turning his attention to road racing a year later.
From those beginnings, White finds himself among team-mates such as Derek Gee and Adam Jamieson, both of whom are part of Team Canada's Olympic track team next summer for the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed because of Covid-19, as well as former Olympian Arvin Moazami Godarzi.
“It’s really exciting to join a team with Olympic riders in it,” White added. “I’ve raced against a few of the guys before and already know the Canadian guys, which will help me settle into the team.
“It’s another big step for me and I’m really excited for the opportunity.”