Meet our three stagiaires for 2021

Riley Sheehan, Charles-Étienne Chretien, and Raphaël Parisella join team for remainder of season

2 months ago by Tom Owen

Rally Cycling welcomes three stagiaires to help close out the 2021 season – American Riley Sheehan, and the Canadian duo of Raphaël Parisella and Charles-Étienne Chretien.

How it works

The practice of cycling teams taking on stagiaires goes back a long time and is a fundamental part of the sport’s development pathway. Effectively, a stagiaire is a trainee or apprentice bike racer who joins a professional team from August 1 until the end of that current season.

Young riders get a shot at racing in some top pro races, while the teams are able to cover any gaps in their roster that might have appeared after a long and challenging season. 

Get to know them

Riley Sheehan is a 21-year-old American who has been racing for the French development team Sojasun Espoirs. You might remember this as the squad run by Rally Cycling’s European general manager, Stephane Heulot, and which provided the team with two stagiaires last season in the midst of a somewhat chaotic, interrupted second half of the racing year. 

I’m feeling super psyched and thankful to be joining the team, it’s been a dream of mine for three or four years to ride with Rally Cycling.”

 

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A post shared by Riley Sheehan (@riley_sheehan)

If the surname Sheehan also seems familiar, that’s because Riley’s father Clark joined the team as a director earlier this year. 

“It’ll be super cool if I get the opportunity to do a race where my dad is DS,” Riley added. “I love hearing his advice and he’s helped me so much to get to this point. Mostly I’m looking forward to joining up with the other riders on the team, who I really look up to.”

Charles-Étienne Chretien is a French-speaking Canadian, currently riding for the Laboral Kutxa Team out of Spain’s Basque Country. He is eager to grab this huge learning opportunity with both hands.

“Joining Rally has been my objective for the last few years. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to do some Euro pro races at this level – I’m sure I can learn a lot from the experienced riders in the team.”

Chretien was on Silber Pro Cycling with Stephen Bassett, Pier-André Coté, and Nickolas Zukowsky, so he will be familiar with a few of the current Rally Cycling roster. He says he’s looking forward to helping wherever he can and soaking up all the expertise he can.

“I would say I can fit in everywhere… kind of an all-rounder. I can help on the climbs, would be happy to jump in the break or help in a bunch sprint. I’m looking forward to learning as much as possible.”

At 18, Raphaël Parisella is the youngest of the three new recruits and has been competing for the French National 2 amateur team, Les Sables Vendees. Parisella is a sprinter-rouleur who can get over smaller climbs well. 

 

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“I’m very motivated to join the squad and start racing. It’s going to be a great experience for me because it’s a totally different style of racing to what I’m used to.”

ProTeam’s have more clearly demarcated roles than in the amateur ranks, something Parisella is keen to pick up on. 

“I’m looking forward to learning the jobs you have to do on a pro team that is not the same as in the amateur races.”

Planning for the future

Jonas Carney, performance director for Rally Cycling, emphasized the talents of these three young men. 

These are three of the best talents coming out of North America right now. It’s nice for us to offer them an opportunity and start to build a relationship.”

Carney also outlined how the stagiaires will slot into the existing squad. 

“We have a heavy program for the rest of the year and if anyone gets hurt or sick we will be light on riders. So these guys will help us to fill all of our rosters and it gives us a chance to try them out and get to know them.”