The Rally Cycling men’s team has been invited to the Tour of Oman and Spain’s Volta Valenciana.
The team published the news of both invites on its website.
“We have received confirmation for the majority of our early season races but want to respect the timing of race organizers by following their lead,” said Communications Director Tom Soladay.
A longtime squad in the American UCI Continental ranks, Rally is making its debut as a Pro Continental team in 2018. At its December training camp, Team Performance Director Jonas Carney said the team had ambitious plans to compete in Europe and abroad, in addition to its full North American schedule.
“We definitely want to do some big [races] in Europe if we can gain the invitations,” Carney said.
Carney also said he wanted the team to try its hand at larger races, rather than tackle a schedule that was too ambitious for a first-year Pro Continental squad. Rally has sent its team to Europe in previous years to compete in smaller stage races, such as Portugal’s Volta ao Algarve. This year, Carney said, the squad will likely have an entire team stationed in Europe for the early months of the season.
“We don’t want to dive into the deep end and get our heads kicked in,” Carney said. “We need our young athletes to have an opportunity to compete in that [UCI 2.1] level, 2.HC level [races] before we drop them into endless WorldTour stuff.”
The Tour of Oman has UCI 2.HC rating. Each year a smattering of WorldTour teams compete in the desert race. Its previous winners include Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome, and Fabian Cancellara.
The team already gained entry to Spain’s Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta del Sol race, which runs concurrently with the Tour of Oman.