With an eye on the 2010 World Cup circuit — and the mountain bike World Championships at Mont Ste Anne — 16-year-old downhilling phenom Neko Mulally has taken yet another career step by signing with a sports management agency.
And the 16-year-old from Reading, Pennsylvania has some good company at 23 Degrees Sports Management — World Champion Greg Minnaar. Along with winning the Gravity East downhill and dual slalom overall in 2009, Mulally posted an impressive year despite the fact that he’s not yet old enough to race World Cups; that will come next season.
Beyond Gravity East, Mulally showed his stuff at Whistler this year during the Crankworx events. Racing pro men, Mulally finished fourth in the dual slalom behind world-class talents Kyle Strait, Brian Lopes and Johannes Fischbach. And then in the Canadian Open Downhill finished fifth, just seconds behind World Cup stars Brendan Fairclough and Steve Smith.
Mulally rode as the forerunner for the Canadian rounds of the UCI World Cup, and is now set to hit the circuit next year in his first World Cup season. Currently a member of Specialized Team America, Mulally is open to race for a new program in 2010.
“Next year is a really important year for me,” Mulally said. “I want to build on the experience I gained this year with my current team, and chase down my goals of being one of the top juniors on the downhill circuit next year and hopefully gain a medal at my first World Championships.”
As for the MTB Worlds in Quebec the first weekend of September, Mulally said, “It was really cool to see the Mont-Sainte-Anne course this year, and it’s one I’m really looking forward to racing in 2010.”
Founder and owner of 23 Degrees Sports Management, Martin Whiteley, said his firm hasn’t signed any new athletes for more than two years. Another of Whiteley’s clients, Kyle Strait, is on the same team as Mulally.
“We’ve been waiting for just the right rider to come along and Neko fits that bill,” Whiteley said. “I’m very excited by what the future holds for this young talent. Neko’s been well known in the U.S. for a little while now and he’s been getting some pretty impressive results for his age.”