MEET THE PROS
Let’s introduce you to the Pros that will be riding and coaching at the event.
Let’s introduce you to the Pros that will be riding and coaching at the event.
A veteran of the UCI World Tour, Krista Doebel-Hickok has spent much of her 10-year career racing in Europe. She’s posted stage wins of the Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l’Ardeche, the Tour de Feminin and Tour of the Gila. The harder the race, the more consistently she finishes. Doebel-HIckock has posted top 10s at Fleche Wallone, Vuelta a Burgos, Philadelphia, the Amgen Tour of California, the Tour Down Under, and the Grand Prix de Cycliste Gatineau.
Doebel-Hickok, 34, first made headlines running both track and cross country. As a full scholarship runner at Vanderbilt University, she graduated summa cum laude and broke the 10,000-meter school record while maintaining a 4.0 GPA in economics. She graduated in 2011, bought a bike and two years later turned pro.
This native of California is enjoying her second stint with team Education First-Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank. After a successful opening to her pro career in 2014 and 2015, she went on to deliver results for Teams Cylance and Rally before a strong return to EF in 2022. She raced both the women’s Tours of Italy (aka Giro Donne) and France (aka Tour de Femmes) before captaining the team to a dominant win at the Tour Feminin International des Pyrenees. Doebel-Hickok won three stages, and the points, mountains AND the overall jersey, a rare sweep of the final podium.
A native of Southern California, Cole Kessler possesses all the physiological attributes of a great cyclist in the making. Springing from scholastic mountain bike racing to the road, he won a Junior National Time Trial championship in 2019. But an American calendar rich in short, fast criteriums favors sprinters over time trialists and climbers. Hence, Kessler, just 20, moved to Spain where he rode for the Israel Premier Tech development program. Kessler spent the 2022 and 2023 seasons hammering away at stage races the way a rock singer works mid-size clubs. This included Domestique service to superstars such as Michael Wood, helping him to win the Route d’Occitanie stage race. Along with marquee events in Spain, France, Belgium and Italy, Kessler has competed in more remote markets such as Norway, Czech Republic and even Rwanda. This past season he posted a podium finish at the Orlens Nations Grand Prix in Poland, a UCI showcase for emerging talent.
Luke Lamperti, 20, is probably the least famous best American cyclist alive. Many see Lamperti as America’s first great road sprinter. At the age of 18, he chose to leave North America to race in Europe. Riding mostly in Belgium, he routinely went elbow-to-elbow with some of the world’s best sprinters in little known races. He arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2022 without any teammates and beat the best professional sprint trains to win the USA Cycling National Criterium Championships. A native of California’s Marin County, he repeated in 2022 and again in 2023. Having steadily built his skills winning 11 pro races and several best young rider and best sprinter jerseys in stage races, Lamperti garnered the attention of top pro teams. He’s getting called up to the big leagues, having been signed by Soudal-Quickstep for 2024. He will be filling the shoes of Fabio Jakobsen, who has won stages in the Vuelta a Espana and the Tour de France.
Beneath Emma Langley’s gentle persona and soft smile is a fierce competitor who has dominated American road racing in recent seasons. A native of England, Langley, grew up in five different countries (Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden and the United States) before settling in Richmond, Va.
Having been raised as a competitive swimmer, Langley picked up running and cycling, jumping in her first bike race in 2013 while in high school. At the College of William and Mary competed in triathlons but the bicycle captured her fancy. Riding unattached, she finished seventh in the 2019 national road championships, drawing the attention of scouts. As the pandemic settled, Langley signed with Education First/Tibco/Silicon Valley Bank as a true World Tour pro. She won the Joe Martin Stage Race, arguably the toughest in North America, with two stage wins and the mountains classification. The following season she not only repeated her victory at Joe Martin, but she also soloed to victory the USA Cycling National Road Championships.
After winning that stage race in Arkansas, Langley strapped bags on her bike and joined teammate Lauren Stephens for a 400-mile bike packing ride to Dallas, with much of it on unpaved roads. Langley has become a solid competitor on the gravel circuit, having competed in Unbound and the Belgian Waffle Ride.
Tom Pidcock may be the most gifted and versatile athlete on wheels, be it a road bike, cyclocross bike, mountain bike, time trial bike or even a skateboard, Pidcock gets it done. Just 24, the young Brit has already loaded up a career’s worth of Palmares with an Olympic gold medal, Tour de France stage wins, and world championships in three different disciplines.
A native of Leeds, Pidcock outshined a splendid batch of jewels produced by the British Cycling Federation when won the junior division of the 2017 UCI World Cyclocross Championships in Belgium, followed by a road win in the junior Paris-Roubaix and then the time trial title in the UCI World Road Championships in Norway. Graduating to the senior ranks in 2018, PIdock’s arc went higher. In cyclocross he won the Under 23 National, European and World Championships along with every major World Cup. His push into road racing was interrupted by the pandemic, but he managed to win the Under 23 Giro d’Italia.
With the sport re-opening in 2021, Pidcock went on a tear. He scored a spring classic win at Brabantse Pijl hit the podium in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and the Amstel Gold race. He switched to a mountain bike and beat a star-studded field to win the Olympic gold medal. He then rode the Vuelta a Espana in September and then won the World Cyclocross Championships in Arkansas in early 2022. After a disappointing spring campaign, Pidcock shocked the field and the experts when he dropped some of the biggest names of the sport in solo victory atop Alpe d’Huez. His 2023 season demonstrated his potential again with a powerful win at Strade Bianchi, and podium finishes at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Amstel Gold. In August he jumped on a mountain bike and won the UCI Cross Country World Championships.
Velo-News listed Magnus Sheffield as its first pick of “Breakthrough Stars” of 2022. The quiet rider from Western New York made a mark winning the bronze medal at the junior world road championships. With the race calendar empty due to the pandemic, Sheffield focused his last year as a junior shattering the world 3,000-meter pursuit record by an amazing gap of 3 seconds. That got him signed for a European-bound program for 2021, where he quietly – but powerfully – supported team leaders. This earned him a place on Team INEOS/Grenadiers. He shocked the World Tour with a stage win of the Ruta Del Sol. Still just 19, he followed that up with a victory of the mid-week classic Brabantse Pijl. After finishing Paris Roubaix, the young man with Scandinavian heritage rode the Tours of Norway and Denmark, winning a stage and leading the latter until the final day to finish second overall. Sheffield also returned home mid-season to place second in the national time trial championships and third in road race. His 2023 season showed enormous promise until a high-speed crash in the Tour de Suisse resulted in a concussion.
A native of New York raised in Miami, Andrew Talansky enjoyed success as a high school runner. But at 17 cycling drew his interest. He never looked back.
At Lees-McRae College in North Carolina, he won the national collegiate championships in 2008 as a freshman. Hooked, he moved to Italy to race at the professional level and bounced between Europe and the U.S., posting impressive results in 2010. This included winning the Under-23 National Time Trial Championship in 2010 and placing second in the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir in France. Rung-by-rung he continued climbing the ladder of sport. He scored his first professional win at the 2012 Tour de l’Ain, winning the points jersey, scoring a stage win, and taking the overall. He finished second in the Tour de Romandie, also claiming the best young rider jersey. Talansky also made a stunning debut in a Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, finishing seventh overall.
The hits kept on coming with a top 10 overall in the Tour de France (2013), second at Paris-Nice (2013), victory at the Criterium du Dauphine (2014), a national time trial championship (2015), 5th overall in the Vuelta Espana (2016), and stage wins in the Tour of Utah and the Tour of California, with overall third place finishes in both events.
In 2018, Talansky switched focus and went into the sport of triathlon and began to transition his career to coaching, living in Northern California where he runs Talansky Performance Group. During his cycling career he also attended several of the Best Buddies Challenge rides as a pro ambassador.
About the Talansky Performance Group: talanskyperformancegroup.com
Cam Wurf was labeled the “world’s most versatile elite endurance athlete” by podcaster and wellness guru Rich Roll. A native of Tasmania and longtime ambassador for Best Buddies, Wurf has achieved world-class status in three sports. Having competed in rowing at the 2004 Olympics, Wurf switched to cycling with immediate success. He earned a spot in the UCI World Tour in Europe and completed the Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia. He then became one of the top triathletes in the world, setting the fastest bike time in two successive editions of Kona. Popular with fans and other riders, Wurf is referred to as the “Chief Motivation Officer” of every team he joins. For that, the INEOS Grenadiers recruited the Australian for both cycling and triathlon. Now 40, Wurf shocked not only pundits but also his fellow riders when he delivered a solid team ride in Paris-Roubaix, finished the grueling “Queen of the Classics,” and then laced up running shoes and ran a half marathon for training.