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Axel Merckx is a legend in his own right, but today, his focus is on developing cycling's future stars with the Axeon Hagens Berman cycling team. The question is, how bright will those stars shine at this year's Tour of California?



In a past life, Axel Merckx was a Giro stage winner, Belgian National Champion, and Olympic medalist. Today, he's the owner and general manager of the finest U23 outfit in the world, Axeon Hagens Berman. We caught up with him and the team ahead of the AMGEN Tour of California to learn what motivates him, the underlying ethos of the Axeon squad, and what he hopes to capture with the future stars of cycling.

Our team [is] only focused on U23s. We've graduated something between 18 and 20 riders to the pro tour over the last eight, nine years. And it's really the snowball effect where you have a couple of guys who are really successful, and a lot of other young riders want to be part of the program.

Axel Merckx