Brandon McNulty believes the recent string of successes from young riders suggests professional cycling is cleaner than ever. The 21-year-old American will move from Rally UHC to WorldTour level next year but is resisting the pressure to keep pace with his contemporaries.
Egan Bernal won the Tour de France this year at the age of 22, the youngest winner in more than 100 years. Elsewhere, 20-year-old Tadej Pogačar has won the Tour of California and Volta ao Algarve in his neo-pro season, and Remco Evenepoel has won the Clásica San Sebastián and elite European time trial title at the age of 19. Meanwhile, 24-year-olds Mathieu van der Poel and Wout Van Aert have taken the road by storm after spending their early 20s dominating the cyclo-cross scene.
“It’s really cool, seeing young guys thrive. I think it’s maybe also a sign the sport is cleaner,” McNulty told Cyclingnews at the recent Arctic Race of Norway.
“You kind of hope so. You never know for sure, but you like to think positively. If young guys are doing well, I think that’s a good sign for everything. So I think it’s exciting for the future.”
McNulty is very much part of an exciting new generation. The Arizonian won the junior world time trial title in 2016 and placed second in the U23 race the following year. Having ridden for the LUX development team, he joined Rally in 2017 and turned pro by default when they obtained a Professional Continental licence in 2018. Such was talent he has shown over the years, moving to the WorldTour was a matter of when – not if.
“There has been interest from several WorldTour teams for a couple of years now,” McNulty said. “Luckily enough, I was definitely in the fortunate situation where I kind of had to interview the teams – it was kind of backwards, I guess.”
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