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Matthew Riccitello makes WorldTour debut at UAE Tour, steps up to GC racing

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Al Dhafra Fort, United Arab Emirates (VN) – Matthew Richtero He was spooked in his world tour debut this week on the UAE Tour, but was nowhere near his depth.

After finishing in the top 10 at the Vuelta a San Juan, Hagen’s Berman Axon Graduates arrive in UAE for first taste of elbow and acceleration in top-flight racing Israel-Premier Tech.

“I was competing in Argentina, but it was exciting, it was my first WorldTour. I’ve seen a lot of these guys on TV for the last 5-6 years. Now it’s really possible to compete with It was great that they played together,” Riccitello told Velo news Outside his team bus on Monday.

Riccitello saw a stagiaire experience at Israel-Premier Tech last summer, signing a three-year deal with the team of Chris Froome, Michael Woods and Jakob Fuglsang.

Richie Taylor’s break into the majors at just 20 years old is yet another testament to the success of the Hagens Berman Axeon talent factory.

The US devo team has sent riders such as Tao Geoghegan Hart, Joe Dombrowski and João Almeida to sensational careers in the professional ranks.

“I’ve always hoped this would happen, it’s always been my goal, and deep down in my heart, I really hoped it would happen. But you never know for sure, you know?” he said. “So to actually be here now, about to start my first WorldTour race, it’s fantastic.”

After a stellar start to his career, Ricitello looked very comfortable on Monday. The Tucson racer has surged to ninth overall and made an impression in his professional debut by claiming the young driver’s jersey at the Tour of San Juan.

“I knew I came into Argentina with good conditions, but I didn’t expect too much from myself. It was more about letting the season go without expectations,” Ricitello said on Monday. “But being in the top 10 with some pretty big guys … I’m really excited to start the year.”

Baby walks out of U23

LÉLEX MONTS-JURA, FRANCE - JULY 31: Matthew Riccitello of the USA and Team Hagens Berman-Axeon on the 125km stage of the 900m from Izernore to Lélex Monts-Jura during Stage 3 of the 33rd Tour de France 2021 / @tourdelain / July 31, 2021 in Lélex Monts-Jura, France.  (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
Riccitello spent two full seasons with the Axeon team. (Photo: Getty Images)

Riccitello is just another 21st century baby bursting into the pinnacle of professional cycling.

Riders like Remco Evenepoel, Carlos Rodríguez and Juan Ayuso all have birth certificates from 2000 onwards.

A string of top-level appearances with the Axeon in prestigious U23 competitions such as the Istrian Spring Trophy, “Baby Giro” and Tour de l’Avenir saw the diminutive Arizona hit his professional debut.

“The U23 team is very strong right now and you see a lot of guys going straight to the World Tour from the youth teams, or from the U23 team, and doing really well. After what I saw in Argentina, I don’t think the difference in strength is that much As big as people think,” he said. “The only big difference I’ve noticed is that it’s much faster.”

Riccitello made a frenzied WorldTour debut Monday by taking first place in the ultra-fast echelon stage.

Next month, he will compete in more top-level races at Volta a Catalunya as he develops his skills in class racing.

“The future plan is to do the GC, but I want to do it step by step, that’s the approach the team is taking. At the moment my plan is not a big tour this year, but I might start next year – we’ll see how it goes,” he said.

“This year, I just want to contribute to a successful year for the team. Getting in the top 10 is a good start for San Juan and I just want to keep going in that direction.”

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