A 20 year-old Brandon McNulty finished 7th overall in his Amgen Tour of California debut, with a spectacular display on the way to South Lake Tahoe. He’s confirmed his raw talent with a recent win in the Tour of Sicily.
Brandon McNulty (Rally UHC Cycling) surprised everyone on the 2018 Amgen Tour of California. Including himself. Not only did the 20 year-old American rider clinch a 7th place overall (despite a dramatic puncture in the time-trial, his favorite discipline), he battled with the best climbers in the mountains, even throwing some digs on the way to a 4th place at South Lake Tahoe on stage 6. “A 200 km stage at altitude, and over the last climb I still had legs to attack”, the youngster recalls a year later.” When I got on the pedals I was like: ‘Wow!’”
On that day, Colombian super-talent Egan Bernal sealed the overall victory and Brandon McNulty showed everyone he has the raw talent necessary to make his way to the top spots of the podium. “It was, I guess, the best result I’ve had so far in my career”, the young kid from Phoenix confirms. “And it was super awesome because it was also by far the hardest race I’ve done so I think it goes well for the future, about having the engine to go for the biggest races.”
The future, according to the patrons carefully watching McNulty’s progress, is full of promises. The young talent himself dreams of big successes : “Obviously the Tour is the big one for GC guys. Maybe a time-trial Worlds title? That would be super incredible.” High ambitions for a massive talent, who’s still “trying not go too fast. Cause I think there’s a lot of young talent that goes very quickly, at least in the American scene there has been a lot of juniors that were very strong and went straight to Europe, straight to a big program, and burned out. I’m trying to avoid that.”
Brandon McNulty thus decided to stay with the American Pro Continental team Rally UHC Cycling, rather than moving to one of the powerhouses interested in his pure talent. “There was definitely interest shown from a few teams”, he explains. “But I think for my development it was better to stay in a more relax environment and just keep learning and developing the engine before making this move. Myself and the team are kind of on the same trajectory.”
That trajectory has seen McNulty take his first professional wins this April (a stage and the overall classification of the prestigious Tour of Sicily, before returning to the West Coast, with the boys in orange often upset the bigger guns on the only American WorldTour stage race. “I think I have more confidence now”, Brandon McNulty says ahead of his second participation in the Amgen Tour of California (May 12-18). “It’s not like I’m confident I’m gonna win this, but I’m confident I can ride here, perform at this level.”
“It’ll be interesting how it plays out with no time-trial”, he says about the route. The return of the Mt. Baldy, who wasn’t featured in 2018, also has him “excited”, as he already rode it “for fun” in one of his Californian visits. With training camps in Oxnard and visits to his girlfriend in the Orange County, Brandon McNulty is far from being a novice on the Californian roads. He also quickly made a name for himself on those same roads and is looking for more.