Red Walters has big dreams for the 2022 season. One of those dreams is to one day create his own team that will allow him to race on his own terms. For now, though, his more immediate aim is to get more UCI races under his belt.
After announcing that he will be racing with Pro Cycling Team Ribble Weldtite, he is thrilled about a calendar that will allow him to compete regularly with the world’s best riders on the World Tour.
“Racing with Ribble-Weldtide means we should have a good calendar. Gaining entry to these high-level UCI races was half the battle before. If it wasn’t for Tao [Geoghegan Hart] helping me get with Hagens Berman, then I still would have only ever done one UCI race.”
Because Walters previous teams were not guaranteed to be competing in UCI races it took a relentless nature to secure invites to more higher profile races.
“I was emailing every single UCI race in Europe and asking for entry, and then organising the trip myself and splitting the cost between six of the riders who are going, booking the hotel, booking all the channel crossing tickets, and it was just so complicated. But now I’ve got a calendar for the first time ever where I’ve got a pretty good idea of the level of racing I’ll be doing, so it’s like, okay let’s try and prepare for this properly.”
Walters was partly funded by the Rayner Foundation in 2021, a charity set up in Dave Rayner’s memory that provides young people the means to race in Europe. Life as a professional cyclist is costly, and while he also receives valuable familial support for which he is vocally grateful, it’s his digital acuity and presence that continues to bring in sponsors and keep him in the conversation.
“I feel like there’s been a lot of key points and key moments in my career that I could say, if that didn’t happen, then I wouldn’t be where I am. But I think social media is pretty high on that list in terms of the number of opportunities and doors it has opened. For example, if a team gets a CV with a bunch of results in power numbers listed, they’ve got that information, but they haven’t got a feel for the type of person you are. Someone else could be equally enthusiastic and determined, but there’s just no way that gets put across compared to a YouTube video, like how excited I am about going to a race. it just gives them a better idea of who I am and increases the number of people that know who I am.”