Harry Tanfield will drop two divisions and return to the Continental circuit in 2021, signing for the Ribble Weldtite team.
The 25-year-old, who has spent the past two seasons at WorldTour level, first with Katusha-Alpecin and this year with AG2R La Mondiale, has voiced his desire to return to the sport’s top tier in the future.
“With the current wider situation I’m delighted to have found a place at a team that can support my ambitions of returning to the highest level in the sport,” Tanfield said in a statement from the team.
“I want to continue progressing as a rider, I believe I can do so successfully here with a strong European race program. I’ve known the team at Ribble Weldtite for years, competing both with and against many of their current riders. I am looking forward to getting stuck in again at the sharp end.”
Tanfield last raced on the domestic UK circuit in 2018 with the Canyon-Eisberg team, and produced a string of performances – including a stage win at the Tour de Yorkshire and second place in the national championships time trial – that propelled him to the WorldTour.
After a disappointing season in which he suffered through the Classics and struggled with injuries, he was “left high and dry” as the Katusha team folded. He had a contract for 2020 but was not one of the riders who were kept on as Israel Start-Up Nation took over the team’s WorldTour licence. He signed for AG2R last December on a one-year deal, with part of his salary still required to be paid by Katusha-Alpecin.
Tanfield has spent this disrupted season largely as a helper for the French team but, despite an impressive time trial at the recent Vuelta a España, has not been offered a renewal and has struggled to find options at WorldTour or ProTeam level.
“We’re delighted to add Harry to the team for 2021, he brings in a wealth of experience and expertise,” said Ribble Weldtite manager Tom Timothy.
“We’ve known Harry for most of his cycling career and have watched him progress with interest. We feel he’ll be a great fit for our team and help develop our younger riders as well as produce results of his own. With the addition of Harry and some as yet to be released new signings Ribble Weldtite has a squad that can challenge in even the biggest races in 2021.”
The Ribble Weldtite team were set up in 2017 and has since established themselves as a leading force in the UK, finishing as the top-ranked team in all three of their seasons so far. As well as the domestic calendar, the team also compete in Europe and beyond.
Tanfield will link back up with John Archibald and Dan Bigham, with whom he rode to the bronze medal in the Team Relay at the 2019 World Championships in his native Yorkshire.