Project Echelon Racing moves to the UCI Continental level in 2023 after six seasons in the amateur ranks and as a US domestic elite men’s team. The 12-rider roster will be led by Tyler Stites, who at two UCI stage races in the US last year won a pair of stages at Tour of the Gila and had a trio of third-place finishes at Joe Martin Stage Race.
The Wisconsin-based programme had one of its most successful road campaigns in 2022, with GC victories in US stage races – Tucson Bicycle Classic, Redlands Bicycle Classic, Valley of the Sun and Green Mountain Stage Race. On the criterium scene, Project Echelon swept the individual categories and finished second as a team in the inaugural American Criterium Cup.
“This is a momentous opportunity for our team, riders, fans, and the hundreds of military veterans that the Project Echelon organization supports. We believe in the work that we are doing on and off the bike,” Eric Hill, team owner and manager, said about the step up to Continental level and continuing to support national non-profit Project Echelon, with its mission to support military veterans through physical activity and self-discovery.
“We’ve built a winning culture, defined by our grit and perseverance. To make this announcement as we celebrate Veterans Day makes it even more special.”
Among the key departures are US riders Brandon Feehery and George Simpson along with Canadian Jordan Cheyne. Feehery accounted for the pro men’s titles, overall and points, at the American Criterium Cup, while Simpson earned the bronze medal at the US Pro Time Trial Championship.
At the US Pro Road Race Championship in Knoxville, Stites outsprinted Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) for the silver medal. He later raced as a stagiaire for Human Powered Health and will be key to the team’s stage race roster.
In criterium events, 21-year-old Ethan Craine finished on the podium at the season-ending Bucks County Classic in Pennsylvania in mid-September. A string of strong results in the American Criterium Cup series landed the top U23 prize for the New Zealander and boosted Project Echelon to a second-place overall in the team standings.
Racing in 2023 will begin with a select squad in February at Tour of Antalya in Turkey and the Tour of Rwanda. Then the full roster will convene for a training camp in Tucson, Arizona in March ahead of the Tucson Bicycle Classic, where Stites and teammate Zach Gregg went one-two in GC last spring.
US-based stage races will continue to be a focus on the schedule along with Tour de Beauce in Canada, Vuelta a Guatemala and a block of European races in July and August. The team will also target races for its sprinters on the American Criterium Cup series again.
The team will continue its partnership with key equipment sponsors, including Argon 18 with SUM frames, Reynolds with AR series wheels, Kask with helmets, sunglasses by Koo and clothing by Jakroo, which includes the Arrow skinsuit for tech apparel.
The team will continue to promote the mission and vision of Project Echelon and receive support from veteran-owned companies, such as BioTech Pharmacal and Trace-A-Matic. One of the premier community events will be the Project Echelon Fondo in Tucson, on March 12, an open event to all fans and supporters.
“The partnership Project Echelon has with companies goes beyond the sport of cycling. We offer support to veteran employee resource groups, access to health and wellness benefits, and empower our communities. The visibility we bring through the sport is just an added benefit for many of our partners as we remain focused on our mission.”
Project Echelon Racing 2023 roster
- Ricky Arnopol (USA)
- Ethan Craine (NZL)
- Zach Gregg (USA)
- Will Hardin (USA)
- John Heinlein (USA)
- Colby Lange (USA)
- Sam Morris (Can)
- Peter Olejniczak (USA)
- Hugo Scala (USA)
- Tyler Stites (USA)
- Stephen Vogel (USA)
- Matt Zimmer (USA)