Brandon McNulty just getting started after tearing up the Tour de France
Arizonan ace tipped for leadership at UAE Emirates after confirming potential at Tour: 'The world discovered we have a great, great rider.'
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If the cycling world didn’t know the name Brandon McNulty, it does now the Tour de France is done.
And it’s a name that won’t be forgotten, says his UAE Emirates team boss.
“We always knew Brandon could win on a big level. But actually now all the world has discovered that we have a great, great, rider in the team,” Mauro Gianetti told VeloNews during the final week of the Tour.
McNulty made himself an essential for Tadej Pogačar in the Slovenian’s ride to the Tour podium.
The Arizonan was last remaining climber for Pogačar during UAE Emirates’ defiant last stand in the Pyrénées and handily hopped into the overall top-20 in an impressive three weeks.
- How Bjerg, McNulty rallied around under-pressure Pogačar
- How the North Americans fared at the Tour de France
“We have a long project with Brandon, we know he is an incredible rider. He has a big, big quality. This week showed exactly how strong he is and his potential for the future,” Gianetti said last week.
McNulty won’t always be doing the final pulls for Pogačar.
After hitting the WorldTour with UAE Emirates in 2020, the team handed McNulty a contract through 2024 and the promise of a program designed to guide him toward the front seat of the team’s big white bus.
“He’s growing year by here. Next year, he’ll start to take some responsibility and we see he wins when he has the responsibility,” Gianetti said.
“In the future the plan is for Brandon to become one of the leaders that takes responsibility in stage races. We will start with one-week races and then the big tours.”
McNulty is tipped for his first Vuelta a España next month. It was confirmed Tuesday that Pogačar will not line out for the team in Spain, leaving room for McNulty to take a possible co-captain role with UAE Emirates’ Portuguese star João Almeida.
“He’s a complete rider. He is a very good climber and very good in the time trial. And he has good recovery day by day. So he has a big potential,” Gianetti said. “And now he’s got to build with calm, without stress, and he’ll be in a good way.”
McNulty’s ride on the Tour’s 17th stage to Peyragudes confirmed his potential for years to come.
The 24-year-old shredded the GC group, kept a lid on Jonas Vingegaard, and left Pogačar poised for the stage.
“What Brandon did that day was something incredible,” Gianetti said. “He had a big morale and satisfaction afterward. This was a big sign for him.”
The next two years will see McNulty elbowing for GC duties in a busy UAE Emirates roster.
Finishing third behind GC heavyweights Pogačar and Vingegaard on the Peyragudes and scoring his best-yet Tour de France finish in Paris could be just a taste of things to come.
“Getting on a Tour de France podium is always a reward,” McNulty said after receiving the combativity award for his Peyragudes pulls. “To be in the lead on the last climb leading the group was very special.”