Michael Valgren has signed a two-year cope with EF Professional Biking. The Danish rider joins the American WorldTour staff after two years at NTT Professional Biking.
The 28-year-old, who gained each Amstel Gold Race and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2018, joins EF Professional Biking because the squad appears to be like to bolster their one-day and Classics squad for subsequent season.
Valgren has lengthy been touted as a rider able to successful nearly any at some point Spring Classics on the calendar however his final two seasons have been blighted by sickness and unhealthy luck. He has did not win a race since leaving Astana in 2018 however has put in quite a lot of spectacular shows, together with sixth behind winner and teammate Mads Pedersen within the 2019 World Championships highway race in Harrogate.
With sponsor NTT set to depart the game on the finish of this 12 months and the staff’s future wanting bleak, Valgren turned one of the vital wanted riders within the peloton with Crew Ineos and Israel Begin-Up Nation each linked to the him.
Nonetheless, Jonathan Vaughters’ squad gained the race for the Danish rider’s signature and the 2021 season provides Valgren a very recent begin and an atmosphere and tradition wherein he might restart his profession.
The EF Professional Biking Classics squad already consists of the 2019 Tour of Flanders winner Alberto Bettiol, Sebastian Langeveld, Moreno Hofland and Jens Keukeleire. With Sep Vanmarcke leaving the staff for Israel Begin-Up Nation, Valgren has a central place inside the core of an already established group.
Vaughters welcomed the Dane to the staff and hopes to harness the rider’s uncooked skill in main races, particularly the Spring Classics.
“Michael has an enormous motor and is a real expertise. He’s distinctive on the Classics and really precious to his staff in stage races. I’m excited to see what he brings to our crew. He offers us one other card to play within the cobbles when issues get loopy — which they at all times do.”
Valgren mentioned he is already been speaking to the Danes already on the EF roster and added that the staff appears to be like like a enjoyable squad to be a part of.
“I am most enthusiastic about transferring to EF to start out working with all of the folks there,” he mentioned. “Clearly, I have been speaking to Matti Breschel and Magnus Cort as fellow Danes. They each mentioned it was an superior staff and I stay up for being part of that. From the surface, EF appears to be like like a brilliant enjoyable staff. And I actually cannot wait to be part of it. I feel I’ll match proper in.”
“My fundamental power as a rider, I imagine, is my endurance and that I am actually in a position to learn the race fairly nicely. So I feel that is an excellent mixture, particularly within the one-day races. The longer the race will get, the higher I get and I learn the riders within the race. That is one in all my biggest qualities on the bike.”
Valgren’s 2021 race programme is much from being finalized however given his pedigree and background, it’s extremely probably that he’ll race throughout quite a lot of the spring Classics. The 28-year-old is ready on successful one race specifically sooner or later; the Tour of Flanders.
“It is a particular race. It is so intense, it is lengthy and arduous, however someway it simply goes by so quick. I’ve at all times been fairly good there,” defined Valgren, who completed fourth within the Tour of Flanders in 2018.
“However the mixture of the course, the environment, the historical past round it, I feel it simply creates these actually nice battles within the Ronde van Vlaanderen and that is why I actually like it.”
Valgren got here by means of the ranks by way of Crew Cult Power in 2013, a staff that included Magnus Cort. He then joined Tinkoff Saxo in 2014 and spent three years on the squad earlier than transferring to Astana in 2017. He gained the Underneath 23 model of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2012 and 2013 earlier than his breakout season within the WorldTour in 2018.