Magnus Sheffield is ready to rally in 2021.
Sheffield, the bronze medalist at the 2019 UCI world junior road championships, will make his professional debut with Rally Cycling next season. Sheffield announced the news on social media on Wednesday morning and told VeloNews that the American Pro Continental team’s European racing focus make the decision easy.
“I knew that I wanted to be based in Europe full-time, and although Rally is an American team, they have a full Euro racing schedule,” Sheffield said. “Rally will still feel like home because it is comprised of mostly North American riders and English is the team language, but they are a European-based team now.”
Sheffield missed out on an opportunity to show himself in 2020 — his final year in the junior category — after the lion’s share of national and international junior events were called off due to COVID-19. He won the individual time trial and the overall at Arizona’s Valley of the Sun Pro/1/2 race in February, and then watched as subsequent races were called off due to the pandemic.
In July, Sheffield came on the VeloNews Podcast and said that, despite the season shutdown, his career opportunities were open in 2020. He said he had received interest from WorldTour squads and pro teams alike.
“I spoke to other teams at the WorldTour level and Under-23 feeder teams, but what stood out about Rally was they will be able to provide me with the best race schedule,” Sheffield said. “I really think they have a lot of trust and belief in me.”
Rally cycling joined the UCI Pro Continental ranks in 2017, and in 2018 the team began running a split racing schedule between North American and Europe. For 2020 the squad raced almost exclusively overseas, with a racing program in the Middle East, Europe, and South America.
Team officials have said they hope to advance the squad to the WorldTour level in the near future.
Sheffield grew up racing with the New England-based Hot Tubes development team, and he said that the presence of Hot Tubes alumni Nathan Brown, Gavin Mannion, and Colin Joyce also weighed into the decision. He also looked at the career trajectory of Brandon McNulty, who made his WorldTour debut in 2020 after racing with Rally for his Under-23 years.
“They understand that my ultimate goal is to go WorldTour,” Sheffield said. “They want to win races and I want to win races.”