Reigning junior time trial world champion Brandon McNulty (Rally Cycling) will be out of competition for at least eight weeks after fracturing his pelvis in a crash at the Volta ao Alentejo last month.
McNulty was competing as part of Rally Cycling's eight-rider roster in the five-day UCI 2.1 stage race in Portugal when he hit the deck hard during stage 3 from Mourão to Mértola.
"The race started to get a bit sketchy with the wind picking up, and basically the two guys in front of me hit the brakes and went into each other and basically trapped my front wheel and gave me nowhere to go," McNulty said. "I got up and my upper leg hurt pretty bad, but usually with crashes there's always something that hurts (like a hip or knee) so I didn't think too much of it because I could still ride. I finished the race with a back group, and as soon as I tried to get off my bike it was super painful and I could hardly walk."
The team pulled the plug on McNulty's race when the pain continued to get worse that evening and the next day, an initial X-ray taken in Portugal revealed a fractured pelvis. The 18-year-old American flew home to Phoenix, Arizona to see a specialist, who confirmed the injury and said McNulty would need at least four weeks off the bike before building back up slowly toward his return to racing.
"It is a shame that Brandon injured himself and will be off the bike for a little while," said Rally Cycling Performance Director Jonas Carney. "He's a young guy with a bright future. The important thing is that he takes the time to recover and heal fully and does not feel pressure to come back too soon. The team is 100 percent behind him. Whenever he is ready to return to racing we will have a good program for him to build back up."
McNulty won the rainbow jersey at the UCI Road World Championships in Qatar last October with a time that would have earned a bronze medal in the U23 race. In two years with the USA Cycling junior national team, McNulty built an impressive international palmarés that includes third place at the 2015 junior time trial world championship in Richmond.
In 2015, McNulty won the four-day Course de la Paix in the Czech Republic ahead of US teammate Adrien Costa after taking the lead with a time trial victory. He won the individual time trial at Driedaagse van Axel and was second behind Costa in the overall at the Tour l'Abitibi after winning the opening stage and the time trial. In 2016 he won time trial stages in Pays de Vaud and Trofeo Karlsberg, where he also won the overall. He increased his result one spot at l'Abitibi in 2016, taking the overall victory in the Canadian Nations Cup race.
McNulty signed with US Continental team Rally Cycling in the off season, saying the opportunity to ride with more experienced riders played a big part in his decision.
"One thing Rally Cycling has to offer that strictly U23 teams don't is the opportunity to race with and learn from guys who have been professionals for a long time," he said last fall. "They have a tremendous amount of experience and it is a great opportunity to learn from some of the best riders in the peloton."
Rally started its season in Europe at the Vuelta a Murcia in Spain, followed by the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal. McNulty then joined the roster for Volta ao Alentejo. The team raced most recently in Europe at the one-day Classica da Arrabida in Portugal.