Why Brandon McNulty chose to race in the U.S., not Europe

Article originally from VeloNews.

After Brandon McNulty won the junior world time trial championships this past September in Qatar, Europe came calling.

Major WorldTour teams reached out to him, offering cash contracts and one-way entry to the sport’s pinnacle. Large U.S.-based development teams reached out, too, offering racing opportunities in Belgium, France, and Spain. McNulty, 19, knew the calls were bound to come. Coaches say he is perhaps the most physiologically gifted American cyclist ever. His power numbers point toward otherworldly talent even beyond that of Greg Lemond, Taylor Phinney, or Tejay van Garderen. It’s not a matter of if McNulty enters the sport’s top echelon, but when.

After taking several weeks to contemplate his future, McNulty made an unexpected decision. He chose to stay in the United States in 2017 and make his professional debut with Rally Pro Cycling, a Continental squad. The choice bucked the trend established by nearly ever world-class American talent that has come before him.

“It was a really hard decision,” McNulty told VeloNews at a Rally team camp in January. “Racing full-time in Europe is something I one day want to do. I’d rather do it slowly than jump into it.”

McNulty’s cautious decision is built on the memories of talented Americans who never made it to the WorldTour. Dozens of gifted youngsters have traveled overseas to race, only to be chewed up and spit out by Europe’s cutthroat development leagues. McNulty and his team of advisors — which includes his coach, his parents, and former Tour de France rider Roy Knickman — believe that this conservative approach will help him avoid the various hazards that have derailed his predecessors.
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