Mountain bike and cycling sensation Edward Anderson is on to a new level, signing with Axeon Hagens Berman, the world's leading professional Under 23 cycling development squad.
This is huge. How huge?
"I can't tell you how big a deal this is in the world of cycling," one of Anderson's coaches, Sean Carithers, said. "These are the best of the best in Under 23 cycling."
Only 16 riders from places worldwide made the team, eight newcomers and eight returners. Anderson will miss some school in the spring to train with Axeon, a team based out of California.
Most of the racing will happen in the summer, so college shouldn't be affected much, either.
"It was really cool because it kind of unfolded over the last month and came together," Anderson said of the professional opportunity. "The team found out about me through word of mouth. That helped me get on the team because I don't have the results that some of the other riders do."
Anderson did dominate the Virginia High School Cycling League of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), winning an unprecedented four straight races this fall in the mountain bike series, most by wide margins, with the support of some outstanding people.
"I'd like to give a special thanks to coach Craig Foster [and the assistant coaches] who run the St. Christopher's mountain bike team. Without coach Foster, I would never have started riding, and without the St. Christopher's team, I would never be riding at the level I am today," Anderson said. "Also, I would like to thank Sean Carithers for helping me progress my riding through his coaching over the past few years. Through Sean, I have also been presented with many opportunities I would never have otherwise been afforded.
"Another thanks to goes to Andrea Dvorak who is a former pro currently living in Charlottesville for her constant support; without Andrea, Axeon wouldn't have even been a possibility - it was through her connections that this has all worked out. Finally, I would like to thank the school for its support as well, and without the contract athletics program that allowed me to pursue my individual interest, I would never have come this far."
And hopefully Anderson is just getting started.
"I don't have any expectations this year. I'm really looking forward to learning from the best of the best on the team," Anderson said. "They are riders that I've always admired and looked up to. It'll be really cool riding and racing with them."