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Riley Sheehan turns professional with Israel-Premier Tech in 2024

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UCI ProTeam Israel-Premier Tech have announced the signing of Riley Sheehan on a three-year professional contract, after the 23-year-old American impressed whilst riding as a stagiaire in the second half of the 2023 season.

Joining the likes of Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar, soon-to-be Jumbo-Visma), Matthew Riccitello (Israel Premier Tech) and Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) in completing the journey from the Mountain West of the United States to the professional peloton in Europe, Sheehan will trade the domestic criterium scene for some of the biggest races in the world next season and beyond.

Read more: Matteo Jorgenson and the blessings of a lifetime of near-misses

Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, Sheehan spoke of his excitement at joining Israel-Premier Tech as a permanent member of the squad in 2024.

“I am so motivated to be part of Israel–Premier Tech,” he said. “Having spent some time with the team already, I have gotten to know a lot of the staff and riders and I was so impressed with the atmosphere. It is really motivating to be joining such a great group of people and be part of the positive team environment.

“After my Paris-Tours win, I hope to continue to try and win more big races. It has only made me hungrier and even more motivated, so I look forward to chasing more great victories. I am excited to compete in the spring Classics and see what I can do with the IPT guys there. I am still uncertain as to what style of rider I can be, but I hope to be a very versatile rider who can win and support the team in every race.”

Paris-Tours win confirmed their belief, but Israel-Premier Tech had penned Sheehan’s contract before this breakthrough

Sheehan’s name has long been linked with a move to Israel-Premier Tech, owing to his impressive performances over the last two seasons, the first of which was spent with the Premier Tech U23 Cycling Project squad.

The Canadian team offered Sheehan his first real taste of racing a lengthy programme in Europe before the 23-year-old continued his progression in the first half of 2023 whilst riding for the Denver Disruptors in North America.

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“His time with the Denver Disruptors and criterium racing experience has given him an excellent foundation for his first years as a pro,” noted Israel-Premier Tech sporting manager Rik Verbrugghe. “We are looking forward to watching Riley grow over the next three years and seeing what kind of rider he can become.”

If Sheehan’s time on the Premier Tech Project in 2022 had not already convinced the ProTeam to make a move for the American in the summer of 2023, his performance at the Walmart Joe Martin Stage Race in May certainly did so.

The American won two out of the four stages to beat former WorldTour pro Miguel Ángel López to the overall title, before joining Israel-Premier Tech as a stagiaire for the second half of the season.

It was his early performances in Israel-Premier Tech colours – ninth at the Maryland Cycling Classic stands out – that earned him a professional contract, said team owner Sylvan Adams.

“We wanted to see what he could do at the European races after mostly racing on the US criterium scene. Riley lived up to our expectations and as a result of his solid performances we offered him a contract even before his impressive victory in Paris-Tours, which was an excellent confirmation of our successful scouting.”

Read more: Paris-Tours: Riley Sheehan sprints to win from late move on gravel sections

As Adams alluded to, Sheehan enjoyed his coming-of-age moment in Europe at Paris-Tours back in October, in which he became the first American in history to win the one-day Classic.

Sheehan joined a late move that was eventually able to outwit the peloton and sprint for the victory, in which the American got the better of Lewis Askey (Groupama-FDJ) and Tobias Halland Johannessen (Uno-X Pro Cycling) to cross the line in first place.

At just 23 years old, the American has displayed his credentials both in stage races and one-day races, and will now certainly be a name to keep an eye on over the coming seasons as he seeks to became the latest American to solidify himself in the European ranks.

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