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Axeon Hagens Berman latest US team to make jump to ProContinental status

Joe Robinson
4 Dec 2017

Axeon Hagens Berman make it a trio of American teams making the jump to ProContinental in 2018

Axeon Hagens Berman have become the latest US-based team to make the jump to ProContinental level for 2018, following Rally Cycling and Holowesko-Citadel.

The under-23 team will step up from Continental level for next season with the aim of competing at the Amgen Tour of California in May, America's biggest race.

It is this ambition to compete in California that has seen the team - managed and founded by Axel Merckx, son of Eddy - joined by fellow American-based teams Rally Cycling and Holowesko-Citadel.

The three teams have stepped up in order to compete at the week long stage race which no longer invites teams from Continental level.

Having formed in 2009, originally under the guise of the Trek-Livestrong feeder team, the team has helped nurture many riders into the WorldTour including Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Tao Geoghan Hart (Team Sky) and Taylor Phinney (EF-Drapac).

Most recently, the team has helped Neilson Powless (LottoNL-Jumbo), Chris Lawless (Team Sky) and Jhonatan Narvaez (Quick-Step Floors) graduate to the WorldTour.

The team is unlikely to increase its schedule in Europe, continuing to focus on stateside races and the development of young riders.

When speaking to Cyclist earlier this year, Merckx thanked sponsors Hagens Berman for their financial support in jumping to ProConti level.

'The sponsor wants us there next year and thanks to him we can afford the step up to Pro-Conti level,' Merckx said.

'We want to give our riders the chance to be at the start line in California.'

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