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Siblings Gillian and Nigel Ellsay join Rally Cycling for 2018

Talented brother and sister bring time trialing skill and professional experience to American UCI outfit

Photo: CyclingBC

Nigel and Gillian Ellsay have signed with Rally Cycling for 2018. The pair of Canadian siblings join the American UCI program from Silber Pro Cycling and Bianchi-Colavita respectively. It will be the first time Nigel and Gillian race together in the same professional program.

The Courtney, B.C. natives grew up cycling with their father on Vancouver Island. They bring dynamic and developing skill to the program that is already home to many of Canada’s top riders including national champions Allison Beveridge and Matteo Dal-Cin.

“They have been one the most consistent teams for a while now and a team I have looked up to since I was a junior,” Gillian said about Rally in a team statement. “You can see the amount of depth, support and opportunities the team has. Consistent, hard working riders and staff is the recipe for success.”

Gillian turned professional in 2017 with Bianchi-Colavita. Her first pro season involved gaining experience at some of North America’s biggest races. Her older brother has had a considerable impact on her cycling career which took off after he began racing.

“Riding on the same team as my brother is going to be a blast! He’s been one of my biggest supporters since I started racing,” Gillian explained. “He passed on a lot of valuable advice and shared his experiences with me, and it’s helped me avoid some common mistakes.”

Gillian, 20, previously raced with Trek Red Truck in B.C. and represented Canada at the 2015 world championships at the junior level. A strong time trialist, Gillian won the Canadian national junior women’s title against the clock in 2015, and won the 2017 Canada Games time trial and criterium.

“We know what Gillian is capable of, and we are very excited to add her to our growing roster,” said Rally’s women’s performance director Zach Bell. “We have a lot of Canadians on the team that are tough, smart, great athletes, and we think Gillian will fit right in.”

Nigel’s professional career began at Silber Pro Cycling in 2014. During his time with the Montreal-based program, the now 23-year-old honed his skills as a stage racer, team leader and time trialist.

Nigel Ellsay
Photo: Scott Robarts

In 2016, he had breakout results coming second overall at the Joe Martin Stage Race and seventh overall at the Tour of Alberta. In 2017, he finished second in the ITT at the elite men’s Canadian national championships bested only by WorldTour rider Svein Tuft, one of Nigel’s cycling idols. Nigel also won the KOM jersey at the 2017 Tour de Beauce and was Canadian men’s junior ITT champion in 2012.

While those results were impressive, his ride at the 2017 Tour of Utah gave him the most confidence. “ITT nationals was really cool but I’m most proud of my 13th on GC at the Tour of Utah,” Nigel said in the team press release. “It wasn’t a win, a podium or even a top ten. However, it was a big personal victory.”

Ellsay, who had distinguished himself against the clock, climbed at a higher level than he ever had against the stacked field in Utah. “It was the culmination of a lot of hard work over the winter, then staying focused throughout the season. Looking back, there are ways I could have been better. But I’m most proud of my Utah ride because of the big changes and sacrifices I made to get to there,” he said.

The men’s program at Rally Cycling will he moving up to UCI Pro Continental status in 2018. Nigel is only the second rider to be confirmed on the men’s roster after the team announced the signing of 2016 Tour of Alberta winner Robin Carpenter