Who is Dan McLay?
When he was just 19-years-old, Daniel McLay decided to pursue his cycling career in Belgium, where he went with some impressive results in his bag: a national champion title in the junior’s race, a stage win in Driedaagse van Axel and a second place in Paris-Roubaix, all in the same season, 2010. It was rather unusual to see the young cyclist go in Belgium instead of riding under the guidance of the British Cycling Academy, but Mclay found there the perfect environment to thrive in, an environment which has helped him race more aggressively and develop his skills.
Very fond of the Classics, the New Zealand-born rider got the victory in the 2011 edition of U23 Dwars door Vlaanderen, ahead of Sean De Bie and Tom Van Asbroeck. These results sparked an interest from Lotto-Belisol U23, the team managed by former pro Kurt Van de Wouwer, who took him on board in 2012. The beginning wasn’t as he wished, so McLay needed some time to find his rhythm and struggled to score strong results and earn his place in both the Lotto-Belisol U23 and the British National team, despite being a fast finisher and having a real flair for the cobbles and the one-day races.
Still, the obstacles he encountered didn’t descouraged him, and Daniel McLay continued to work hard, so that his dream of turning pro will become reality. His stand-out season came in 2014, when despite breaking his collarbone, he won a stage in both the Tour de Normandie and the Paris-Arras Tour, before going on to take the overall classification in the Ronde van de Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen and an impressive stage in the Tour de l’Avenir, where he put on a fast sprint that helped him beat the likes of Magnus Cort, Fernando Gaviria and Federico Zurlo.
At the end of the 2014 season, Bretagne-Séché came with an offer on the table and Dan McLay took it with both hands, thus choosing to continue his career outside the United Kingdom. Many were surprised by this, but the Brit proved once again that he knew what he was doing and soon repayed the trust of the team in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo, where he won a stage, as well as helping Yauheni Hutarovich take three stage victories. After the African race, he got to make his debut in the World Tour, at Paris-Nice, where he placed 8th in the not so easy stage 5, a result which again underlined his potential.
After having such a fast and impressive start to the season, 22-year-old Daniel Mclay – one of the new generation’s top talents – is sure to continue making some waves this year in the pro peloton, and considering his development, don’t be surprised if you’ll see him pull off a win in the months to come.