That could change in the coming year if the Welshman is given his head at Team Sky. The 23 year-old has joined the team from Wiggins’ eponymous outfit and has all the attributes to make a successful transition from the track. He then won two stages at the Fleche du Sud stage race in Luxembourg in 2015 before finishing third overall at the Aviva Tour of Britain that year, arguably the most impressive result of his professional road career to date.
Our Telegraph Sport writers nominate the young stars they expect to go on to big things in 2017.
There is only one Joe Root, but there could be another batsman who is pretty similar: Joe Clarke, Worcestershire’s 20-year-old middle-order batsman.
He is originally a Shropshire lad, and unlike most of England’s current batsmen who have attended private school, he preferred to go his own way and join the Worcestershire academy. Subsequently, in a county of limited resources, he has been given every opportunity in all three formats, batting up the order in white-ball games even before he has acquired the weight of stroke, and he has acquired the alternative Root method of scoring off almost every ball.
Last season he made five championship hundreds, albeit in the second division, and is timing his run right, in that England have their Test top four booked in – Cook, Jennings, Hameed and Root – but there could be a vacancy at five. So far this winter, which he has spent with the Lions in the UAE, the main question mark has arisen over his batting against spin: Afghanistan’s young leg-spinner Rashid Khan dismissed him for 0 and 1 in their first-class match.
Like so many of England’s most promising batsmen, he keeps wicket as a second option rather than bowls, but Worcestershire have rightly made him focus on batting for the time being.
With one lap remaining of the Olympic 1500m final this summer, Laura Muir made a decision that ruined her chances of winning a bronze medal and yet simultaneously marked her out for potential greatness.
As Faith Kipyegon and Genzebe Dibaba, the two women seemingly nailed on for gold and silver, hit the front Muir attempted to go with them. Not content with settling for third place, the diminutive veterinary student paid the price for her ambition and was gobbled up by the chasing pack in the closing stages. “I went for it,” she said afterwards. “I went for gold.”
That a runner who has never made a senior international podium was prepared to sacrifice everything in the pursuit of the greatest glory spoke volumes about her determination to reach the top of her sport and just 11 days later she made partial amends in amazing fashion. Taking on almost all the same rivals who had capitalised on her misjudgment in Rio, the 23-year-old smashed Kelly Holmes’s British 1500m record to triumph at the Paris Diamond League and, in doing so, finish top of the world rankings for 2016.