Holowesko-Citadel gets Pro Conti nod from UCI

Holowesko-Citadel announced today that the UCI has approved the team's application for a Pro Continental license for 2018. The US-based team, which added Arapahoe Resources as a presenting sponsor for next year, also revealed the 16-rider roster.

Eight riders from 2017's 12-rider squad will return, including Miguel Bryon, Ruben Companioni, TJ Eisenhart, Andzs Flaksis, Andrei Krasilnikau, Joe Lewis, John Murphy, and Brendan Rhim. Longtime riders Robin Carpenter and Ty Magner moved in the offseason to Rally Cycling, which has also applied for Pro Continental status, while Mac Brennan and Oscar Clark did not renew.

Eisenhart, who announced his renewal with the team earlier this year on Twitter, shone for Holowesko-Citadel in his first year with the team, winning the overall at the Redlands Bicycle Classic and putting in strong performances at the Tour of the Gila, Tour of Utah and the inaugural Colorado Classic. Murphy used his sprint to take wins in Utah and Colorado as well as at multiple national calendar events.

"I'm excited to have this great group of guys return for another year on the team," said team director Thomas Craven. "TJ is a great climber, and Miguel has shown great skill in delivering Murphy to the front at the perfect time. The team will be even stronger this coming year with the addition of some other key players."

Filling out the 2018 roster are Nicolai Broechner, Fabian Lienhard, Evan Bybee, Andrew Dahlheim, Grant Koontz, Morgan Schmitt, Brayan Sanchez and Bryan Gomez.

Broechner, a 24-year-old Dane who rode for Riwal Platform the past three years, spent two years on the US domestic circuit with Bissell in 2013 and 2014. He won the Fort Bayard stage at the 2014 Tour of the Gila ahead of Eric Young and Travis McCabe. Lienhard, 24, is a Swiss rider who spent time as a trainee with BMC Racing in 2016 before signing with Austrian Team Vorarlberg this year.

"Fabian is going to fit perfectly with our team," said Bobby Julich, who signed on as performance director for 2018. "He's already friends with a few of our returning riders, and he's one of those guys who is dependable in a variety of conditions. As for Nicolai – he has great past experience racing in the United States, and I believe he has a lot of potential in the one-day races. I look forward to passing along my experience in time trialing with him."

Colombians Sanchez, 23, and Gomez, 23, each have experience racing with US teams, Sanchez for Jamis in 2016 and Gomez with Champion Systems in 2014 and 2015. Sanchez rode with Colombian team EPM this year, while Gomez raced in the US with the Gateway Harley Davidson domestic elite team.

Four riders come from the Arapahoe Resources domestic elite team. Dalheim, 29, and Schmitt, 32, each raced on the Continental level last in 2013 – Dalheim with Bissel and Schmitt with Jelly Belly. Schmitt was 12th overall this year at the Joe Martin Stage Race. Bybee is a 28-year-old from Oklahoma who raced the past three seasons with Arapahoe Resources, while Koontz is a 23-year-old Texas time trial champion.

"We have a strong group of guys for our first year as a Pro Continental team," said team owner George Hincapie. "These riders, paired with our new partnerships and additional leadership, give us a promising start for the 2018 season. It's still my dream to one day have a team in the Tour de France, and this is a step in the right direction. Rich and I look forward to welcoming everyone to the family and working with them in the coming year."

Holowesko-Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources 2018 roster: Nicolai Broechner, Miguel Bryon, Evan Bybee, Ruben Companioni, Andrew Dahlheim, TJ Eisenhart, Andzs Flaksis, Bryan Gomez, Grant Koontz, Andrei Krasilnikau, Joe Lewis, Fabian Lienhard, John Murphy, Brendan Rhim, Brayan Sanchez, Morgan Schmitt.

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