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American Brandon McNulty is headed to the WorldTour.
McNulty, owner of the 2016 UCI junior world title in the individual time trial, signed a three-year deal to ride with UAE-Team Emirates, the squad revealed on Friday. In a release, team general manager Joxean Matxin called McNulty a ‘world-class talent.’
“Brandon [has] two key qualities that few riders his age possess: the ability to combine both climbing and time trialling at a high level,” Matxin said. “Throughout his career he has demonstrated steady growth and a remarkable consistency in reaching his objectives. Many teams wanted to sign Brandon, and we are very pleased to have secured the opportunity to welcome him into our team.”
The news marks an important milestone in McNulty’s young career. In 2017 he shrugged off offers to race in the WorldTour to instead begin his professional career with the U.S. team Rally-UHC, and rode with the team for three seasons. McNulty told VeloNews at the time that he wanted to ease into European racing, and that Rally-UHC presented the best opportunity for him to do that.
“It was a really hard decision,” McNulty said. “Racing full-time in Europe is something I one day want to do. I’d rather do it slowly than jump into it.”
The three years marked important progression for the young American, and in 2018 he finished top-10 at the Amgen Tour of California, before winning the Tour of Sicily in 2019. McNulty is slated to compete in the Dutch race KOGA Slag om Norg this coming week, and then the UCI road world championships in September.
In a statement issued by the team, McNulty thanked his Rally-UHC team.
“My initial feelings about joining the world tour are pure excitement,” McNulty said. “I’ve been patient with my development over the last few years, and now I can say that I feel I am ready to make the jump and I’m excited for the challenges to come.”
McNulty said he chose to ride with UAE-Team Emirates due to the squad’s focus on long-term development.
“There’s obviously already a very strong crop of young riders on the team already which is exciting for the future,” he said.