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Coronavirus: Aevolo will expand to U24 team for 2021 season

Aevolo was top team at the 2019 Redlands Bicycle Classic
(Image credit: Dan Munson)

The Aevolo Cycling team will add another year of eligibility to its current under-23 development program in 2021, allowing riders who would have aged out of the US Continental team next season a chance to recoup some of the races that are being lost this year because of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

“I hope this gives the 22-year-old riders some relief mentally,” Aevolo Sports Director Michael Creed said in a statement released by the team announcing the decision. “This pandemic isn’t their fault, and I don’t want them tempted to come back too soon and put themselves in situations that could potentially get them sick.”

Creed's team is in its fourth season after getting underway in 2017 as an outlet for young riders to race on the US domestic circuit. In the intervening years, the team has become a staple of North American racing and participated in some of the biggest US events, including the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and the former men's Colorado Classic, where Aevolo's Gage Hecht won a stage in 2018 and wore the leader's jersey for a stage.

Hecht is one of the riders who could potentially benefit from the extra year of eligibility with the team. The Colorado native and reigning US elite cyclo-cross champion turned 22 in February and would be well into his final year with Aevolo, but he has yet to race during the interrupted 2020 season. Tyler Stites, Cade Bickmore, Scot McGill and Eric Brunner are others could benefit from a U24 season. Stites and Hecht have been with Aevolo since its inception in 2017.

Creed's team, although most prominent in North American races, had ventured previously to South America and had planned more international racing this year, including an extended trip to Europe. The team started the 2020 season in Australia at the Herald Sun Tour before Covid-19 brought racing to a screeching halt for the foreseeable future.

Aevolo co-director Jono Coulter said all of the Aevolo riders came into the season well prepared and highly motivated to reach some big goals.

“We were high key pumped to see what they could achieve both in the USA and in the team's first foray in Europe," Coulter said. "Extending the opportunity for our athletes who would have otherwise aged out in 2021 allows everyone in the program to focus on their loved ones and their own health, without the burden of jeopardizing community health aiming for as yet uncertain end of 2020 sporting goals."

There is not yet any indication as to how long the season will remain suspended or which races will be rescheduled.

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Pat Malach

Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.