TALENTED teenage sensation Adam Ward is set to join a new junior cycling team after making his mark at home and abroad in 2016.
The young Omagh Wheeler enhanced his growing reputation as one of the most exciting young prospects in the country last season by claiming a number of eye-catching victories, including a first international win in Belgium.
A memorable 12 months culminated in the gifted 16-year-old being invited to take part in a prestigious training camp in Spain.
That valuable experience brought the curtain down on a hugely successful year for Adam who the Ulster Herald has selected as the Sports Personality winner for the month of December.
Adam, who is teaming up with Belfast-based Powerhouse Sport team, admitted 2016 had been a year of many memories.
The teenager claimed a first at the Tommy Girvan Memorial and was first junior in the Derry Criterium before heading to the continent.
During the first two weeks in Belgium, Adam finished seventh and 21st respectively in his first two races before finishing runner-up in an A Kermesse race in Wortegem-Petegem to secure a first international podium.
The young Omagh club rider returned home to participate in the Irish Youth Tour for the Cyling Ulster team. That proved another memorable highlight with one of the team members claiming victory outright while Adam powered home first on stage three as well heading the KOM classification.
Things got even better for the rising star of Ulster Cycling when he returned to Belgium a few days later.
In a 60km road race in Zingem, near Oudenaarde, the Dunamanagh lad claimed a maginificent first international win by leading home a dominant Irish under-16 team which claimed six of the top seven positions.
Back on home soil the dedicated young cyclist won the criterium and claimed a second place in the U16 National Championships in Cork before helping Cycling Ulster win the skills competition at the UK Schools Games.
And a thrilling year ended with Adam cycling the mountains in Spain.
“It was a fantastic experience,” he added.
“We were spending three to four hours in the mountains every day.
“Sometimes we were riding uphill for an hour and half. We were 1500-1600 metres above sea level, it was freezing cold.”
Past successes though are exactly that and Adam is now relishing the new challenges of 2017 in competing for the Powerhouse Sport stable.
Teaming up with the specialist junior team will offer the young Master Ward greater exposure and further opportunity to gain added recognition on the international stage.
“They have a full international calendar for the season,” continued Adam.
“There are five young guys on the team and we can look forward to international races in France and Spain as well as the UK and Ireland.”
The Powerhouse team is made of exclusively of Ulster riders. Alongside Adam are PJ Dougan, Brendan Flanagan, Xeno Young and Liam Wilson
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