Canadian rider Riley Pickrell is turning pro with the Israel-Premier Tech team next year, making the move from the Premier Tech Academy.
The 21-year-old from Victoria will join fellow Canadians Michael Woods, Derek Gee, Hugo Houle and Guillaume Boivin on the Israel Premier-Tech pro roster.
Pickrell is the fifth Israel Premier-Tech rider to graduate to the pro team from the academy.
"I am excited to welcome Riley to IPT in 2024. Following in the footsteps of his former academy teammates, Derek Gee, Marco Frigo and Mason Hollyman, racing in our U23 Continental development program, Riley has shown real promise, and has earned his spot on our team," team owner Sylvan Adams, a Canadian-Israeli entrepreneur, said in a statement.
"He is one of several great prospects in our system from Canada, in addition to our promising group of young riders from Israel."
Pickrell earned his two-year contract after showing he is one of the top sprinters in the under-23 ranks, said Israel Premier-Tech GM Kjell Carlstrom. Pickrell turned heads when he won a stage at last year's under-23 Giro d’Italia
"Over the last three years, I have grown a lot within the development team and I feel I am ready to make the step up," said Pickrell. "I’ve really enjoyed the last three years with the academy, it has given me a fantastic opportunity to learn how to become a bike racer and develop into a rider who can be competitive at the pro level."
Pickrell won bronze in both the under-23 individual time trial and road race at last year's Canadian Road Championships.
He finished 29th at the road race at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, where he also competed in the team pursuit.
Israel-Premier Tech's partners include Adams and fellow Canadians Jean Belanger and Kevin Ham.
Former Canadian cycling star Steve Bauer is one of the team's sports directors. Other Canadians involved include performance director Paulo Saldanha, coach Christopher Rozdilsky, soigneur (support staffer) Jon Adams and head mechanic Andreas Back Watt.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2023
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press