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In Pittsford, N.Y., supertalent cyclists are like busses – you wait for one and then two come along at once.
“Magnus is definitely my biggest influence – he grew up maybe five or 10 minutes away from where I live,” multi-discipline mega-teen A.J. August told VeloNews.
With shared ties in Pittsford and only three years between them, Sheffield and August are two of a kind.
Sheffield hit the WorldTour with Ineos Grenadiers last season and barnstormed almost immediately to debut victory. The Brabantse Pijl and Ruta del Sol stage-winner gives the 17-year-old August a ready-made role model as he targets his own time in the top tier.
“To see Magnus now, going on to the biggest stage stages in cycling – it’s inspirational,” August said shortly after he returned to Pittsford from CX worlds.
“After we grew up so close and experienced similar things, to see how quick he’s developed gives me something to push toward.”
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Sheffield was a late bloomer on the bike after spending his youth cross-country skiing. When he finally found the pedals in his mid-teens, it was August’s father that gave him the hand-sling.
The August family’s “Park Ave. Bike Shop” supported Sheffield in his formative years.
The shop’s race team even saw Sheffield in its jersey in his early forays into road racing before he – and then August – clicked up a sprocket with Hot Tubes racing.
“Magnus is a few years older than me, so we’re not super-close friends, but we know each other well and catch up,” August said. “He’s been so inspirational, being from so nearby. Following him, with Rally and Ineos, I’ve been able to view the whole process firsthand.”
August recently took a trip over the Atlantic to join Ineos Grenadiers on a January training camp.
Existing relationships between the British squad and Hot Tubes Racing saw the teenager in Mallorca with around a dozen of the Ineos Grenadiers elite.
“Being a 17-year-old around guys that achieved so much like Pidcock, Kwiatkowski – it was quite something,” August said of the team camp.
“I definitely learned a lot with the way the riders were. But as well as getting a feel for what it’s all like, I could learn how that specific team works and functions.”
Sheffield wasn’t in Mallorca with August, Pidcock, Kwiatkowski and Co. because he had business Down Under – the 20-year-old was busy blitzing to fourth overall in the prestigious Aussie WorldTour opener.
With Sheffield on speed dial, August doesn’t need to go to Mallorca for a sample of pro cycling success.
It could only be a matter of time before August takes his turn to inspire the next New York cycling star.