McNulty almost steals the show for Rally at Dubai Tour

Brandon McNulty (Rally Cycling) has already shown his huge talents in the junior and under-23 ranks but he stepped up and showed his potential as a professional rider on the Queen stage of the Dubai Tour, bravely attacking from the break, holding off the peloton and only being caught 50 metres from the uphill finish on Hatta Dam.

McNulty is a former junior world time trial champion, is the current US under-23 national champion and finished second in the under-23 Worlds in Bergen last September, despite only turning 19 on April 2.

He developed his huge talent thanks to the work of Roy Knickman at the Lux Development team, and joined Rally in time for their step-up to Professional Continental level in 2018.  

It was a heart-breaking moment when Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and the other riders passed him in sight of the finish line. He had given his all trying to stay away and finished 21st, losing 11 seconds in those painful final 50 metres. 

Despite being so close, McNulty was understandably happy.

"I still put myself out there, I showed how strong I was. I'm still happy. Getting caught with 50 metres to go is nothing to complain about for someone my age, I guess. Now I’m just looking forward to the final stage and then the Tour of Oman," McNulty told the media at the race.

"I really thought I was going to do it but I didn't realise how steep it was. And then my legs kind of just cramped up and that was it."

"It was also a great day for the team. It was great to have Robin [Carpenter] up there with me in the move. He did everything to set me up to go solo in the last 15km. It was a great day."

The 17 per cent road up to the edge of Hatta Dam only last 150 metres but appears like a wall after a right turn.

"When I saw the climb it was a 'Oh Shit!' kind of moment," McNulty joked.  

"We knew that it was steep but the first two climbs were a little over estimated so I thought it'd be the same. That was a mistake. It was a bit worse. Before then I was just going as hard as I could and trying to hold on. I was surprised I heard the gap was down to 42 seconds and then it went up to 50 seconds. I thought I had a shot at it but then with 50 metres to go they passed me."

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.