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Taking a flyer: Inside Rally Cycling’s big step up to Pro Continental ranks

James Raia (CyclingTips) joined the team during their recent training camp in southern California where he shares some insight into the program.

It’s fair to say that throughout his several decades in cycling Rally Cycling men’s team director Jonas Carney has experienced the full spectrum of professional bike racing. He raced at the Olympics. He excelled in the hectic scrum of criteriums, crowned national champion twice; he’s been a national champion on the track, as well. He’s seen countless big North American stages race come and go. And now, in his 11th season running the team, he’s facing an entirely new experience.

For the first time in the program’s existence, the team is registered at the UCI Pro Continental level. The move, discussed for several years, occurred in conjunction with the status increase of two other American teams, Hagens Berman Axeon and Holowesko-Citadel, joining two other American Pro Continental programs, UnitedHealthcare and Novo Nordisk.

The higher designation suggests invitations into bigger, international races and, in a first for the team, competing as a split squad. So far this year that has included invitations to events such as Dubai Tour, Tour of Oman, Volta Valenciana, and Ruta del Sol.

“Every year, the objective is to make it better, whether it’s the riders or the staff or the internal structure of the team,” said Carney. “As far as the roster, we try to make it better every year, and on paper, this is the best roster yet. There’s just a lot more depth.”

“I mean if we were just jumping around doing Joe Martin [Stage Race], [Tour of the] Gila, and Redlands, we would just have too many good riders, it would be overkill. But we are going to be running a double program quite a bit this year and racing in Europe, so we really need that kind of depth.”

Read the full article at CyclingTips.com