Pruett was one of two young cyclists chosen from North America to be part of the George Hincapie Sportswear Development Cycling Team for the 2013 racing season.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got selected,” said Pruett. “It was overwhelming and I can’t even believe it.”
Hincapie was a teammate of Lance Armstrong and has competed in 17 Tour de France races, which is more than any cyclist. Hincapie personally called Pruett to tell him that he had been selected to the team.
“I had already given up and really thought they weren’t going to call because it had been so long,” said Pruett. “As soon as (Hincapie) said it was him I was like oh my gosh this can’t be happening.
“As soon as he told me I was on the team he kept talking, but I can’t remember a word he said. In my head I was just screaming, and it was just overwhelming,” added Pruett.
Pruett and his family remembered the night Hincapie called like it was yesterday.
“I was eating Cheez-Its, and when he called I had a mouth full of them I couldn’t really talk plain. Then as soon as (Hincapie) told me who he was I spit them everywhere,” said Pruett with a laugh.
After Pruett submitted his application for the team, the selection process took longer than expected.
“They were supposed to make the decision two weeks before, but they had so many applications that they delayed deciding,” said Nancy Pruett, who is Brandon’s mother. “We were about to go to a ball game when we got the phone call.
“And as soon as (Hincapie) told Brandon who he was, Brandon just spit those Cheez-Its all over the place,” added Nancy with a laugh.
Pruett has garnered attention by racing in a multitude of events during his developing career, and has competed internationally when he went to Belgium as part of a program hosted by USA Cycling.
The opportunities keep knocking for Pruett, and another local cyclist, Trey Smith, talked about Pruett and his natural talent on the bicycle.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Smith, who owns a local cycling shop Cycle Therapy. “He’s having so much fun right now off of his natural talent.”
Smith said this opportunity will be like nothing Pruett has ever experienced.
“When you go the next level, you’ve got to get more serious about every aspect of riding and racing. It’s a lot more disciplined, and he’ll have to be a lot more disciplined to be successful at this higher level.”
Pruett will now have the opporunity to recognized on a much larger scale than just the local or regional cycling scene. He’ll be a part of a team that will be recognized throughout the world.
“There’s a little bit of pressure,” said Smith. “It’s not a local team. It’s a team that has international recognition. I’m hoping he understands the magnitude of the opportunity he has.”
Pruett will have some familiar faces to be around. Earlier in the year when Pruett was in Belgium, he didn’t know any of the cyclists he was with. This time around, he’ll know some of the cyclists on the team.
“He knows a lot of these other kids that race on these teams so there’s going to be a level of familiarity that he didn’t have when he went to Belgium,” said Smith. “I think he’ll be much more motivated to in a positive way. That usually makes all the difference in the wolrd — if you’ve got some other kids going through the same thing you’re going through. He’ll be much more like to be successful in the environment of this team that he’s going to.”
Pruett started competing in events when he was 13 years old and quickly showed the local cycling scene that he was a natural. His first win of career came when he was 14 years old. He took first place in a 40-mile road race in Dawsonville in an event that was part of the Tour of Atlanta.