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L39ION of Los Angeles amped up its roster for 2023 with the additions of US Pro road race champion Kyle Murphy and Tour of Britain stage winner Robin Carpenter. Both will move from Human Powered Health at the end of the calendar year, both having spent the last five seasons with the US-based ProTeam.
This year Murphy put an exclamation mark on his career by winning the stars-and-stripes jersey in the USA Cycling Pro Road Race Championship, earning a solo victory in Knoxville, Tennessee after taking bronze the year before. Five of his support cast of HPH teammates finished in the top 18 of that 186.1km race, including Carpenter, who was 15th.
Human Powered Health has recently added WorldTour talent to its squad, including Barnabas Peák (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Gijs Van Hoecke (AG2R Citroën) for a continued focus on racing in Europe. A move from the ProTeam to L39ION was only an opportunity not a step backwards, according to Murphy.
“I am beyond motivated and excited to reconnect with American fans, American racing. Long term, I always wanted to be able to come back to racing in the US. There’s people I think who want the [national champion] jersey to be in the WorldTour and I totally understand that. I want to bring it home and show it off and feel good about that,” Murphy told Cyclingnews about his career move.
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“I think at this point in my career, I’m also ready to figure out how I can give back a little more. So some of the camps and group rides and things that the L39ION team organizes, I’m super keen on that.”
Murphy said it would be special to continue racing with a teammate like Carpenter, as they supported each other at big races, from his national title in Knoxville to Carpenter’s solo victory ahead of Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) at last year’s Tour of Britain.
“I’ve been there for some of his biggest successes and he was there for me, like road Nats. It was such an awesome moment, the whole team just kind of gathered on the Gay Street Bridge and we’re all hugging, enjoying that moment,” Murphy said about his June victory at US Pro Road Nationals. “We definitely know how to use each other’s strengths. It’s a lot of fun. He’s super analytical and a great guy to have around.”
Carpenter enters his 12th pro season next year. He’s had success in stage races, including a win in the Cascade and Joe Martin stage races in 2017, road races like the Winston Salem Classic, criteriums and gravel – he was sixth at the 2021 Unbound Gravel 200. He noted on social media that he began looking at other career options in the middle of this year and wanted “a little more inspiration going forward”.
“I’m really excited to move on to new competitive challenges next year on L39ION! Furthermore, it feels like a real blessing to be able to come back to the US and race for a team that’s been on the forefront of showing the world how much the US racing scene has to offer,” Carpenter told Cyclingnews once his new team was confirmed.
“L39ION is undoubtedly one of the coolest teams out there right now and I’m just excited to be a part of it. I don’t know what the team’s official schedule is yet, but I plan on dabbling into some gravel events if the schedule allows, kind of like I did at Unbound in 2021.”
The US pair will reunite with former teammate Ty Magner, who is expected to compete for L39ION for a third year. Magner, the 2018 US Pro criterium national champion, won five major crits this year in the US and was fourth at the US Pro criterium nationals. And for Murphy, he will reconnect with Justin Williams, the co-founder of L39ION.
“Ty’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. He’s just an upbeat motivator and really knows how to get the best out of his teammates. I was actually teammates with Justin [Williams] on Cylance way back in the day. He knows how to get the most out of people and understands how to motivate,” Murphy said, noting that while in Australia at the World Championships, US teammate Skylar Schneider made an impression with her comments about the family atmosphere on the L39ION squad.
“Skylar Schneider was also at Worlds, and talking to her about the dynamic on the team and just how much fun they have was inspiring. She made the point that the team makes no distinction between male and female teammates, which I think is incredible. The way the pro road calendar works, I haven’t even met most of the women on Human Powered Health. So I’m just looking forward to a race environment that more closely mirrors reality, you know, like, I don’t, hang out at home with only dudes.”
Murphy, one year older than Carpenter, turned from amateur to pro status eight years ago and got his break with the Circuit Sport programme three years later.
“I was super grateful to get that contract, it was like a dream come true for sure. They were the dominant team in the US, and that was super exciting to get the opportunity to race with them,” Murphy said about the contract in 2018 with then-Rally Cycling. “Pretty quickly, the program became more and more European-focused, which was exciting to get the opportunity to race over there. Now, I just want to race and race in the US. I feel motivated.
“I feel like I’ll be fit and robust enough to handle whatever the heck, wherever the heck Justin [Williams] wants to send me. It’s game on.”
A representative from L39ION said it would make more roster announcements in the coming weeks.