EF Education-EasyPost has announced its partnership with the Aevolo Cycling under-23 development team, which will integrate into their organisation by 2025. The collaboration benefits both EF Pro Cycling, which lacked an official feeder team, and Aevolo, a team that has consistently sought to introduce new talent against better-funded competitors.

Mike Creed, who founded Aevolo in 2017, will stay on as the team’s manager and primary sports director. “I’m excited because it’s something new to learn,” Creed shared. “It’s new people and a new environment, new situations. The goal for me will be finding the best people we can recruit. I’ll measure my success not only in terms of how many under-23s we can feed to the WorldTour squad and are successful but how many of those transitions are almost seamless, in terms of rider professionalism, of being prepared.”

Creed was present at the USA Cycling Road National Championships in Charleston, West Virginia, this weekend, scouting junior men’s races. He told Cyclingnews he was “looking for riders with talent who might not have yet developed their racing instincts” and who might not attract attention from other managers due to results not reflecting their true abilities. His rider Gavin Hlady clinched the under-23 men’s road race and criterium national titles.

A Focus on European Racing

Creed aims to retain as many of his current riders as possible while hiring a mix of American, European, and Japanese cyclists. The team will be based in Girona, Spain, and will focus on a European calendar given the lack of races in North America compared to when the team was established. “We definitely want to go to all the under-23 monuments and bigger races like the baby Giro and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Valle d’Aosta. All those races, we’ll be trying our hardest to get into,” Creed said.

Jonathan Vaughters, EF Pro Cycling’s CEO, views the development team as integral to the WorldTour team’s future. “For a team like us that doesn’t have the biggest budget in the WorldTour, you realise that if you truly want to someday win the Tour de France, the way to do that is to identify the talent, nurture the talent, even build a team around the talent and retain the talent. And then do that for a period of 10 or 15 years and build a Tour de France winner,” Vaughters remarked.

The success of the EF Education-Onto junior programme highlighted the need for a pathway to the WorldTour team. “With the success of the EF Education-Onto junior programme, it made me realise that quite a few of those athletes don’t necessarily have a jumping-off point or a way forward to stay within the EF Pro Cycling programme. So in order to correct that, I felt like we needed an in-house U23 developmental team so that there is a direct, visible, tangible line all the way from when you’re a 14-year-old talent to becoming a WorldTour rider,” Vaughters added.

Building a Comprehensive Development System

Vaughters’ team has previously had partnerships with under-23 development teams, but Aevolo’s arrival marks the first time the team will be under the same paying agent as the WorldTour squad. This means riders can seamlessly transition between the development team and the WorldTour squad. “This is our first foray into having our own in-house, proprietary Continental team. And Aevolo is the obvious team to do this with,” Vaughters stated. “It’s a sister team in the sense that they’ve been with Cannondale for quite a while, and obviously, the team has done a great job. But to make that next jump in performance, they needed to have a more international programme and to have a foundation with a WorldTour team.”

By joining forces, EF Education-EasyPost and Aevolo aim to combine resources to build one of the best continental teams globally. “We’re going to build a truly first-class organisation that supports the rider in the same way that both our men’s and women’s EF Pro Cycling teams are supported,” Vaughters concluded.