Aevolo set for rebuild after Hagens Berman Axeon and Bardiani pick off two stars

'The riders learned so much in 2022, so I think that’s going to translate into better things next year, when we can put our lessons into practice,' Creed tells VeloNews.

Photo: Susan Wienke

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The Aevolo squad is set for an overhaul during the winter after two of its stars were picked up by other teams for 2023.

U.S. U23 road champion Cooper Johnson has informed the Aevolo management that he is leaving for Axel Merckx’s Hagens Berman Axeon squad, while Jared Scott, who rallied with several top-10s in European stage races this year, is heading to Italy after agreeing to ride for Bardiani.

“The whole point of this team is to bring the guys on so they can go to bigger and better teams, so this has been a success on their part and our part,” team boss Mike Creed told VeloNews.

“I’m obviously a little disappointed to lose them because I felt that there were still more opportunities for them at Aevolo, but now it’s time to look ahead and offer new riders the opportunity to succeed. I wish Jared and Cooper the best of luck in the future.”

Aevolo has been providing young and up-and-coming talents a pathway to European racing for several years. This year, around 90 per cent of the team’s racing calendar was based across the Atlantic and with several of the team representing the U.S. squad at the Tour de l’Avenir.

Talented 20-year-old Alexander White is set to return to the team for 2023, while Creed is attempting to shore up the gaps created by the latest departures from the squad. The former rider is on the lookout for juniors with the right work ethic and the desire to head to Europe to compete in some of the most competitive U23 races.

“The roster is coming along and it’s looking good. We’ll bring Alexander White to the team. He’s ridden well in the States, who was ninth Redlands, and did well at Gila, and finished sixth at his nationals. He’s more of a classics rider, and he’s strong, so a lot of the races that we’ll do next year will suit him,” he said.

“He’s our only confirmed signing but we’ve got a few more riders who we can announce in the next couple of weeks. We’re going to find kids who are willing to put the work in, and then help them. The level is so high in the U23 ranks, it can be daunting, but we’re a blue collar team that’s going to scrap and do the best that it can.”

This year’s undoubted highlight for the team was winning the U23 men’s road race at nationals through Johnson.

The problem with scanning through a list of European results is that it often doesn’t really provide the complete picture, so while there were a number of top-10s the main success story for the year shone through in the experience that a number of the younger riders gained.

Creed expects that a number of returning riders will be able to use the lessons that they learned in 2022 and put them into practice next season when the team ultimately returns to Europe for another campaign of racing.

So while the departures of Johnson and Scott are short-term disappointments, the fact is that the two departures simply open up more opportunities for younger riders to step up.

“Winning the nationals was probably the biggest highlight, but we spent a lot of the year getting our heads drummed in. Honestly though, we maybe didn’t have a lot of highlights but we put in a ton of work and commitment. The riders learned so much, so I think that’s going to translate into better things next year, when we can put our lessons into practice. There’s always going to be that opportunity with Aevolo.”

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