After six seasons at the US Pro domestic and amateur circuits, the Winsconsin-based Project Echelon Racing team will step up to the UCI Continental level in 2023.
The blue and white team was a force to be reckoned with all season long with commending wins and podium finishes at the country’s top road racing events, including the Redlands Classic, Joe Martin Stage Race, Tour of the Gila, Valley of the Sun and the US National Road Race.
The team gave an especially memorable performance at the 16-mile time trial stage at the Tour of the Gila —America’s toughest race— when they managed to place three of their riders into the top 5 on the stage.
On the crit circuit, the 10-race American Criterium Cup series, the team’s consistent strength resulted in sweeping the men’s overall and sprint categories, the U-23 category as well as a second place in the team category.
This is “a huge day for Project Echelon Racing Team , our supporters and our veteran community,” the team shared. We’re “honored to carry our mission through the platform of professional cycling.”
More Than a Racing Team
Now a powerhouse of a team, Project Echelon Racing has come a long way since 2016, when it launched as a Midwest regional program with just six riders.
But Project Echelon fights for more than just the white finish line. The racing team is an extension of a veteran non-profit by the same name that seeks to help veterans find community and healing through exercise and competition. In fact, 22 percent of the team’s sponsorship dollars go to fund these veteran support services.
Leadman Tyler Stites
Heading the 12-rider roster up into the Continental level is 24-year-old Tyler Stites, who led the team to victory at Redlands, two Tour of the Gila stages and a third place at Joe Martin.
Stites also netted a fifth place honor spot in the national time trial championships before out-sprinting Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) for the silver medal at the US National Road Race just days later.
Following this performance, he signed on with the Human Powered Health program as a stagiaire — the late season experience there will surely aid in Project Echelon’s bigger challenges in 2023.
What it means to be a UCI Continental Team
UCI-level competition consists of three levels: WorldTour, ProTeams and Continental Teams.
A UCI Continental Team must consist of 10 to 16 riders in the elite and/or U23 categories, and will compete at the UCI Continental Circuits including Vuelta a Colombia, Vuelta a Venezuela, the Pan American Games, Tour of the Gila and the Joe Martin Stage Race.
Continental teams may also receive wildcards for UCI ProTeam level events.
Unlike the two higher levels of competition, rider wages are not required for UCI Continental Teams and many of the Project Echelon Racing riders do have full time jobs outside of racing, team founder Eric Hill told USA Cycling.
“Which is something we are really proud of. We do provide that balance and that opportunity for them. We also have created a winning culture and a level of high expectations for ourselves to compete at that top level as well,” he said.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1