American Brandon McNulty passed on offers to ride in the WorldTour to sign with Pro Continental team Rally Cycling for another season, the squad announced Wednesday.
The 20-year-old Phoenix native said he wants some more racing experience at the second division before moving up to the big leagues.
“Rally Cycling offers me a low-pressure environment to continue to grow and develop and lay the foundations of a lengthy career in the sport,” McNulty said. “It’s tough when you have some of the biggest teams offering you a spot, but for me I think it’s best to have another year to develop and improve. After all, I’m still only 20 years old, so there’s no rush to be at the highest level of the sport.”
McNulty is a time trial specialist and won the 2016 junior worlds time trial title. Last year, he took second in the under-23 worlds time trial championship.
Earlier this season, McNulty placed seventh overall in the Amgen Tour of California. The remainder of his 2018 campaign includes planned appearances at Grand Prix Cyclistes de Quebec and de Montreal this weekend, followed by the UCI road worlds in Innsbruck, Austria from Sept. 22-30.
McNulty said the team’s expanding calendar of European races is giving him more opportunities to compete in top-level races. At February’s Dubai Tour, for example, he nearly won stage 4 before being caught with 50 meters left.
“I think the highlight of this year for me is seeing the whole program grow and prove that we belong in the European pro peloton,” McNulty said. “We were able to get some solid results early this season in Europe and California, and then the guys finished off the year with a huge win in Norway, and the KOM jersey in Germany. It was all really cool to see and be a part of.”
Team director Pat McCarty said the squad will continue to develop McNulty next season and prepare him for a potential WorldTour roster spot.
“Irrespective of his tremendous talent, Brandon is still a young rider that needs to make the right steps at the right time,” McCarty said. “With our program growing the way we are, we will provide the best next steps for him next season. Brandon really likes the team and all of his teammates as well.”