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Brandon McNulty puts Mallorca crashes behind at Volta Valenciana

By Alasdair Fotheringham,


Following a double crash at the Mallorca Challenge last week, Brandon McNulty says he has every intention of putting his slightly rocky start to the 2023 season behind him at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana .

The crashes, the UAE Team Emirates racer pointed out to Cyclingnews at the start of Valenciana, were simply due to Mallorca's road surfaces. "They're notorious for the roads being slick in the dry even, so in the wet... I've done it twice now in the wet and it's always like this."

McNulty's debut in Mallorca was a "bit of a rough start," he said. "I feel OK, though I still have a bit of a pain in my hip. But it's just bruising, so we'll see how it goes."

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But the rider from Arizona completed the series of one-day Mallorca races with a promising fifth place at the Trofeo Tramuntana , and in Valenciana, where the exceptionally hilly profile this year should suit him well, McNulty is set on upping his game even more.

His aim in Valenciana, he says with slightly wry humour, is to "do better than in Mallorca. I finally had a good day on the last day there, so it's a question of maybe going for GC, maybe seeing how the stages plan out.. Either way, it'll be a good 'proper' start to the season."

McNulty finished stage 1 in the main peloton in 31st place behind stage winner Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) .

Valenciana has a much more difficult than usual format this year, with two summit finishes, at Alto de Pinos on Thursday and Cova Santa on Saturday. Both stages have roughly 3,500 metres of vertical climbing, too.

McNulty says the team did a reconnaissance of stage 2 and his verdict is that it's not "super-selective, maybe a bit more in the last few kilometres. the second day looks harder than the first, though.

"It's tough racing, but we're all in a kind of similar situation and it's normally good weather as well."

Further down the line this February, McNulty is heading to the UAE Tour rather than defending his victory last year at Faun-Ardèche , while he has ambitious plans for the rest of the season as well.

It's a slightly different format to his 2022 early season, as he is also missing Paris-Nice where he won a stage with an impressive solo move last year. But McNulty says the idea is to use the Middle Eastern stage race and Tirreno-Adriatico partly as a build-up for later on in the year. That said, as he puts it, "We have a lot of good riders for these races, but hopefully I can show something also."

And for 2023 as a whole? "The dream would be to win a WorldTour stage race, and a good season would be a podium in one of those and to win a stage in a Grand Tour."

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