A 19-year-old from Bishopstoke has signed a contract for Vitus Pro Cycling for the 2019 season.

Red Walters – AKA The Redster – enjoyed a successful 2018 riding in the colours of Sotonia Cycling Club and now looks set for bigger things.

His step up to Continental level puts him just two rungs below world tour teams like Team Sky.

“It’s something I had my heart set on since June as I felt I needed to make that jump to continue developing at the same rate,” said Walters. “I am honestly so excited, especially with the line-up we have now.

“With riders like Ed Clancy (OBE and three times Olympic gold medallist) and Graham Briggs on the team, it makes it that much better as they have so much experience at that level – and I’m always keen to learn.

“I know a lot of guys my age might think they have it all sussed out, but I’m always hunting for information and advice from riders who have the experience. Like they say, knowledge is power!

“We haven’t sorted out programme specifics yet, but I think I’ll be doing a lot of city centre races as I suit that kind of short and fast racing pretty well.

“Equally though, I’m really keen to get some experience and maybe even some good results in the much longer premier calendar races, especially if I can get as many gains as I did last year.

“The fact that this year has seen the number of continental teams in the UK/Ireland reduce from seven to four (all now in the UK) highlights what a fantastic opportunity this is for me, as many riders are left without a contract.”

Walters says his new kit will also be hugely beneficial to him.

“It’s really nice to know I’m riding a great bike from Vitus and the aerodynamic clothing from Velotec has been externally proven to be one of the fastest around,” he said.

“Anyone who knows me knows my bike seems to be in a permanent state of bodge in some way or another, so it’s nice to have some solid kit!”