Elevate-KHS extends with Piccoli, Rodriguez and Bassetti

US Continental team returns key riders from 2018 roster

Elevate-KHS re-signed three key riders from the team's 2018 roster, returning Canadian James Piccoli, Mexican Alfredo Rodriguez and American Sam Bassetti for 2019. The returning riders will be crucial to the US Continental team's stated goal of being the top domestic team next year, expanding on the wins Elevate-KHS earned this season.

"Last year the team finished second in both the team and individual classifications in USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour," said  Elevate-KHS General Manager Paul Abrahams in a statement released by the team. "This year we are looking to move up a step in both categories. Re-signing these three amazing leaders will allow the Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team to be in the fight for victory in every event we line up for in 2019."

Rodriguez, 21, will be in his third year with the team next season. In 2018, he won the overall at the Tulsa Tough criterium omnium and also landed the team's first-ever UCI victory at the Joe Martin Stage Race on stage 4 on Fayetteville. Next season, Rodriguez will be looking to replicate his podium performances of 2017 at the UCI 2.HC Tour of Utah and Colorado Classic.

"I am looking to redeem myself in 2019 after a difficult end to the season this past year," said Rodriguez, whose 2018 season ended with a DNF on stage 1 in Utah. "I am working harder than ever to reach the top step of the podium in the bigger UCI races like Utah and Taiwan."

Piccoli, 27, recently won two stages at the Tour of Southland in New Zealand, but the highlight of his 2018 season was the overall win at the Tour de Beauce, a historic victory for the Canadian in his home province of Quebec.

"Winning the Tour de Beauce, and competing in two WorldTour events in Montreal and Quebec, has shown that I can compete in the WorldTour," Piccoli said. "I am eagerly looking forward to proving next year that I belong at the highest level of the sport."

Piccoli, who will be in his second full season with the team next year, said he is targeting the steep climbs of the Tour of Taiwan early in 2019, as well as the mountain-top finishes in the Tour of Utah in August.

"James has taken a step up this year and is embracing a more aggressive racing style, which enabled his stage win and overall victory in the Tour de Beauce," said team co-owner John McAllister. "We expect him to be aggressive and amongst the best all year."

Bassetti, 27, had a breakout season with the team this year, taking wins at Winston Salem, Redlands Bicycle Classic, Tulsa Tough, San Dimas and also the green sprint jersey at Joe Martin. Bassetti topped the overall ranking in Cyclingnews' season-long Bell Lap criterium series.

"I am really happy to be back with the team, and I am committed to continue our winning ways," Bassetti said. "One of my 2019 goals is to win the US Pro Criterium Championships. I am looking to trade my bronze medal from this year for a gold one next year."

Bassetti closed out the 2018 season ranked second overall in USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour series.

"Sam embodies everything our team is about," Abrahams said. "He is always putting the team first, has an incredibly positive attitude, and is 100 per cent committed to the team plan."

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