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Chris Lawless withdraws from World Championships

Joe Robinson
18 Sep 2017

Chris Lawless to miss Worlds with illness and replaced by James Shaw

Chris Lawless is set to miss the Under 23 World Championships this week due to ilness. Lawless has withdrawn from the team being replaced by James Shaw (Lotto-Soudal). 

The 21-year-old, who has recently signed for Team Sky, was amongst the favourites for the title but will miss out due to illness. Lawless will also miss the time trial, having previously been selected to ride for Team GB.

Team GB confirmed this change of line-up via their twitter page this afternoon. 

Lawless had previously been strugglng with saddle sores, withdrawing from Stage 6 of the Tour of Britain. 

Chris Lawless on heading to Team Sky 

Chris Lawless becomes that latest in a line of young talent to sign for WorldTour side Team Sky. The team confirmed a three-year contract with the young rider in a move that he says is yet to have 'sunk in'. 

Speaking to Cyclist, Lawless expressed his shock at the confirmation of this three-year deal despite having been aware of the move for weeks. Alongside his agent, Lawless had been in talks with Team Sky about the move for the previous few months.

'My agent has been speaking to Sky for a few months now but the actual contract was agreed a couple of weeks ago' Lawless said.

'Even though I knew it was happening, It hasn't really sunk in yet.'

After an impressive Tour de l'Avenir - billed as the junior Tour de France - in which he won a stage and victory in this year's under 23 national road race, it seemed a natural progression that Lawless would join the British side.

With this being said, although the 21-year-old enjoys the fact he will be racing for a British outfit, it was the opportunities to develop that were the bigger draw.

'I would't say that Sky being British was a big draw when I was looking at teams although it is nice. The reason I have joined Team Sky is because I think they will be best for my development.'

Lawless has signed a three-year deal that will see him through to the end of the 2020 season. The length of the deal that Team Sky have agreed indicates the potential Lawless has, yet the rider is aware of the difficulties he will face jumping to the WorldTour and hopes he continue his development as a rider. 

'Obviously I am hoping to find my feet as I go. It is a big step up,' adding, 'different riders deal with the pressure differently. I am looking to go in with a open mind, do what the staff tell me to and hopefully get some results.' 

Despite being from the north of England, Lawless has been racing for American based continental side Axeon Hagens Berman for the past season. Ran by Axel Merckx - son of Eddy - the team exists with sole purpose of nurturing young talent like Lawless into the WorldTour. 

The Brit had originally signed for One Pro Cycling, who were due to race as a Pro-Continental team this season. Yet when this fell through, Lawless found himself riding for the American development team, an occurrence that paid off. 

'Originally I signed for One Pro and when that fell through I was down about that because I lost my pro contract.' 

'However, it turned out to be a blessing disguise as I have developed so much with Axel and the Axeon team.'

Next up for the young Brit is the Tour of Britain, starting this Sunday in Edinburgh. Despite the competitive sprinters field, including Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), Lawless hopes for consistency and potentially a stage victory.

Lead Image: Chris Lawless Twitter