Piccoli and Rodriguez return to Elevate-KHS for 2018 after breakout seasons

Elevate-KHS has renewed for 2018 with Mexican sprinter Alfredo Rodriguez and Canadian climber James Piccoli. Both riders had breakout seasons in 2017 for the first-year US Continental team.

Piccoli, 26, rode with Amore & Vita in 2014 and H&R Block in 2015 before stepping back to the amateur level with a Canadian team in 2016 and the first part of this year.

His performance at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, where he climbed and time trialed with the top riders before dropping out on the final stage, got the attention of Elevate-KHS director Paul Abrahams, and the team added him at the end of June in time for the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

"I was on the verge of retiring before I had the opportunity to join the team in June," Piccoli said in the team press release. "They took me straight to a four-week training camp with my teammates in Park City, Utah. We rode all the stages of the Tour of Utah and that attention to detail really paid off."

Piccoli turned heads almost immediately in Utah, finishing third on the summit finish to Snowbasin Ski resort on stage 2 and backing that up with eighth on the Queen stage to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. He finished the 2.HC race 10th overall and backed that up with ninth at the Tour of Alberta, where he finished in the top 10 on the Queen stage to Marmot Ski Area.

"James has proved that he is one of the best climbers in the US and adds a general classification threat that the team had been looking for," Abrahams said. "Having both James and Alfredo anchor the team in 2018 ensures an exciting year ahead for everyone involved with the Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team."

Piccoli most recently won the overall at the Tour of Southland in New Zealand. 

Rodriguez, 20, will be in his third season with the team, having started in 2016 as an amateur. Rodriguez won seven races in 2017 and hit the podium many more times, including third on stage 4 of the Tour of the Gila, second on stage 4 of the Tour of Utah and third on stage 4 of the 2.HC Colorado Classic in Denver. He also grabbed stage top 10s in Tour de Taiwan and Tour of Alberta. His biggest win of the year came during the stage 2 criterium at the North Star Grand Prix in Minnesota.

"Alfredo's ability to stay calm and focused, especially considering he is only 20 years old, allowed him to finish on the podium in sprint stages at the Tours of the Gila, Utah and Colorado," Abrahams said. 

Rodriguez said he's anxious to turn the bounty of podium finishes into wins next year.

"The whole structure of the Elevate-KHS team fits me perfectly," he said. "We are like a big family. The riders and staff on the team have really sacrificed for me, and I want to repay their hard work with a victory."

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