US development team Aevolo has announced the first three riders signed to the 2018 roster, with Denzel Stephenson the most recent addition along with Nick McKey and Alex Hoehn.
Team director Michael Creed said the first-year US Continental team will expand from 10 riders in 2017 to 12 next season. The team formed last year with the mission of developing young riders for the professional ranks. Creed, a former pro who directed SmartStop for three seasons before coaching the US paracycling team, will continue to guide the team next year.
Hoehn, 19, a former hockey player from Kansas, rode on the Continental level with Elevate-KHS last year. Hoehn was the youngest rider at the 2.HC Tour of Utah, where he finished 38th overall. As part of the team’s commitment to education, Hoehn attends Colorado Christian University.
“My personal goals are to consistently compete for top 10 overall on the American stage race calendar," Hoehn said. “I would like to help Aevolo become the premier U23 pro team in the country and in the world. I cannot wait to bond with my teammates and I’m super excited to be on a professional team with similar aged athletes.”
McKey, 18, is a Freshman at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Originally from Michigan, he competed for many years as an inline skater before moving to cycling in 2011. In 2017, McKey finished sixth at the US junior time trial, fourth in the road race and seventh in the criterium. In Europe, McKey placed a solid third at Genk Kermesse in May.
“For the upcoming year I want to do whatever orders come my way and execute them in the fullest and most successful way possible,” McKey said. “I’m also looking forward to any time trialing and breakaway opportunities that may present themselves along the way.
“I’m also really looking forward to being part of a team surrounded by an entire squad that has one goal in mind and the friendships and bonds that come with that, as well the challenges that making the huge jump in racing level will bring throughout the year,” McKey said.
Stephenson, 18, of Boulder, Colorado, has made a name for himself in cyclo-cross as the reigning US junior champion who finished 10th at the junior world championships last year. His talents extend well beyond the cyclo-cross barriers, however, with a win at the Tour de l’Abitibi last year topping his road credentials. He was also part of USA Cycling’s junior men’s pursuit team that set a new national record on the track.
“I want to learn more about road racing and try and help the team as much as I can in the races,” Stephenson said. “It'll be only my second road season and first year as a U23.”
Stephenson said in the future he’d like to make a career out of cycling and to continue racing both cyclocross and road.
“With Aevolo this year, I really look forward to meeting a lot of new people and having more teammates to race with,” Stephenson said. “Last year, I only really had one teammate to race with, so that made it kind of hard to race against teams. This year, it'll be nice to have a strong team to ride with.”
Aevolo competed in most US national calendar events last year and also ventured into Canada for the, GP de Saguenay, the Tour de Beauce and the Tour of Alberta, where Jack Burke won the jersey for best young rider.