The men were coming off two weeks of training in Oxnard before heading to Europe for their first race of the season at the Vuelta a La Murcia starting February 11. The women's training camp is currently underway in Oxnard through February 12.
The program run by the Circuit Sport management company out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is entering its 11th year, with the men's Continental team starting up in 2007 as Kelly Benefits-Medifast and the women's team taking shape in 2013 as Optum. Rally took over title sponsorship of the teams in 2016.
The 2017 Rally women's team is a mix of experience and youth, with four new riders joining four returning riders as the team rebuilds flowing the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The men's team lost veterans Tom Zirbel and Will Routley to retirement but added three young riders to fill the void. Reigning junior World Champion Brandon McNulty joins the team for 2017, along with Redlands Bicycle Classic winner Matteo-Dal-Cin from Silber and Tour of Alberta stage winner Colin Joyce from Axeon Hagens Berman.
"It's definitely a younger group, and that's the direction we want to go, to bring in more young guys," Rally Performance Director Jonas Carney told Cyclingnews. "I think it's a good balance. We kept a lot of our core dudes from last year, and we brought in some really powerful young guys. That's kind of the route we want to go, to keep our core rout together - kind of the backbone of the team - and then every year reload with a few really badass young guys."
The team can continue to lean on WorldTour veteran Danny Pate to be a captain on the road and provide leadership in races, while Rob Britton and Evan Huffman will shoulder much of the team's general classification hopes. They are joined by veteran strong men Jesse Anthony and Tom Soladay, along with talented climbers Adam de Vos, Emerson Oronte and Sep Kuss. Also returning is Rally Cycling’s sprint train, including National Criterium Champion Brad Huff, Shane Kline, Pierrick Naud, Curtis White and Eric Young.
The teams will have similar programs as they've had in the past, with the men getting an early start in Europe to prepare for the big domestic races.
"There's just not much going on over here until Joe Martin," Carney explained. "We were fortunate enough to get some invitations to some really nice European races like Murcia and [Volta ao] Algarve. We're doing Volta ao Alentejo again, which is probably our fourth or fifth time doing that race in Portugal, and it's a 2.1 now. We have another one-day race in Portugal and we just picked up Tour of Normandy in France in March.
2017 Rally Cycling women's roster: Erica Allar, Amy Benner, Sara Bergen, Allison Beveridge, Kelly Catlin, Megan Heath, Kirsti Lay, Caitlin Laroche, Katherine Maine, Sara Poidevin, Monica Volk, Emma White.
2017 Rally Cycling men's roster: Jesse Anthony, Robert Britton, Matteo Dal-Cin, Adam de Vos, Brad Huff, Evan Huffman, Colin Joyce, Shane Kline, Sepp Kuss, Brandon McNulty, Pierrick Naud, Emerson, Oronte, Danny Pate, Tom Soladay, Curtis White, Eric Young
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake before studying English and journalism at the University of Oregon. He 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.
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