Marijn van den Berg signs with EF

Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters believes it’s van den Berg’s sprint that makes him so lethal and appealing. “He’s a sprinter but he’s actually a very strong sprinter,” Vaughters says. “He’s really good at team time trials – his team won the team time trial at the Tour de l’Avenir – and he climbs very well. He’s not limited to being just a sprinter so he fits into that model of winning races in a non-sequitur way. He can win the sprint out of the breakaway, he can win the sprint out of a group of 40 or 50 that gets selected on a medium mountain day. That’s much more attractive to me than a pure sprinter. Especially with the way cycling is moving, which is more and more of the courses are becoming hillier and harder and race promoters are increasing the number of vertical meters climbed in every race, I think he’s the new type of sprinter that we’re looking for on this team, productive even when the race is hard all day long.”


Van den Berg aims to continue this growth in the upcoming season. “I hope to get stronger like I’ve done every year. Every year, I’ve taken a step and gotten a little bit better, so if I can take another step next year, I hope that will get me to the right level for the WorldTour.”


The 22-year-old says that seeing his progress only encourages him to push a little harder to see what else he can achieve. “When you see that you can do better and then you race and you see that you are one of the best at your level, that feeling of ‘I am doing well’ really motivates me. I think next year I will already be really motivated just because I’m on EF Education-NIPPO.”


He explains why signing with EF is the right move for him. “The trust that they gave me that I may get a chance for myself in some races and getting to develop as a good rider is super exciting. That’s why EF is the best option for me.”


Van den Berg is approaching 2022 with optimism and humility. “I don’t expect that I will win a stage in every race that I do. I can be happy if I have a few good results like a top ten or top five somewhere. I’m really curious where I stand in the WorldTour peloton.”


“I can’t wait to be on the team for next year,” van den Berg says. “I’m super happy that I found a team like EF for the coming season. I’m really happy about it!”


We can’t wait either. Welcome to the team! 


— Mary Lee Mahony to www.efprocycling.com

Steinhauser signs with team – EF Pro Cycling

Steinhauser realizes that his full schedule may not have allowed him to reach his full potential yet but, he says, “I’m proud that I could achieve so many goals this year even though I’m working half the day and training half the day and still be able to ride at the front of a race.”


Vaughters agrees, saying, “Don’t underestimate him. I think maybe his talent will be a little bit slow in surfacing because of the fact that he’s still working on being a student but make no mistake. I think he ends up being on a slower trajectory but I think he ends up being one of the top stage racers in the world.”


In some ways, coming to EF will make racing and training easier for Steinhauser. “Everything will be way more professional and organized than it is at the Continental level. Also, I never really thought about things like nutrition. I’ve just been riding on feeling. I think I can learn a lot in this area.”


Learning is important to the young German. He worked hard in school to become fluent in English, telling his teachers, “The only thing I really needed in school was English. Math, I didn’t need that complicated stuff but English I had to use so it made sense for me to learn.” 


Continuing to learn is among his main goals for the 2022 season. “I’m very excited to ride beside my teammates and learn from them. I want to make as few mistakes as possible. Even in the moments when things aren’t going well, I still see the good and find opportunities to learn. I want to improve from year to year, from season to season, but it’s definitely a goal to win races.”


This deep appreciation for learning and reflection is part of the reason why Steinhauser wanted to come to EF. “The name EF says it all: Education First.”


Another reason why he signed for the pink team? “This team is about innovation. They are not working with old technology and gear. Instead, they’re racing gravel and being open-minded. I don’t feel like you can compare them to ‘normal’ teams. With EF, I feel like I have a new point of view of cycling.”


We love your perspective, Georg, and we can’t wait for next season.


— Mary Lee Mahony to www.efprocycling.com

Rally Cycling signs young talents Henrietta Christie and Barbara Malcotti – Rally Cycling

Rally Cycling has signed young climbing talents Henrietta Christie and Barbara Malcotti to its women’s team for 2022 and 2023. The new additions are the first names to be announced for next season’s roster.

Both newcomers spoke about signing for Rally Cycling and their aspirations for the coming years. With the team applying for a Women’s WorldTour license, they will have plenty of opportunities. 

Pair of Kiwis 

Christie, from Christchurch, New Zealand, is the current under-23 national time trial champion and joins from the Bepink squad.

“I’m really excited about getting to meet everyone next year,” Christie said. “Rally Cycling can help me progress with my career, and I can’t wait to build some strong foundations within the team.”

The 19-year-old recently competed in both the women’s elite World Championship road race in Flanders, and the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes, arguably the two most gruelling weekends of racing this season. The jump up did not faze the talented young climber though.

“I love pushing myself to the limit,” she said. “My aspirations are to get stronger every day and aim to get on a UCI Women’s WorldTour podium next year.”

Christie in the world-famous Vélodrome André-Pétrieux at the end of Paris-Roubaix Femmes

Christie describes herself as a hardworking, driven and team-focused rider who enjoys competing in stage races, as showcased by her young rider classification victory at the Tour Cycliste Féminin in September.

“It’s going to be so cool to be part of a team that is so close-knit and is like a family.”

Returning for 2022 will be a fellow New Zealander whom Christie looks up to. Olivia Ray, the current national criterium champion, will renew her position on the team for next season and the duo will bring a unique Kiwi vibe to proceedings. 

Italian jersey hunter

Rally Cycling is also excited to welcome young climber Barbara Malcotti, who will be the team’s first-ever Italian rider. 

The 22-year-old from Tione di Trento (think mountains) has raced with the Italian team Valcar – Travel & Service since 2019 and is looking forward to joining an international program. 

“I’m excited to be racing with girls from around the world,” Malcotti said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to improve my skills and be a good rider for the team.”

Like Christie, Malcotti is a climber who thrives in the mountains. Her fourth place in the young rider standings at the 2021 Giro d’Italia Donne, and strong top-10 finishes in the recent Italian fall classics, the Giro dell’Emilia (8th) and Tre Valli Varesine (4th), showcase her strengths going uphill. 

“I look up to Annemiek van Vleuten, Marianne Vos and Elisa Longo Borghini because I like their method of racing. They stay in the bunch, get in the breakaway, and they attack, and I think a rider must do all of these things.”

Malcotti also hopes to figure in the Ardennes Classics and aspires to follow in the wheel tracks of her compatriot and current teammate, new world champion Elisa Balsamo. 

A platform for progression 

“We saw the promise and progression that they have shown already at a young age,” said women’s team director Joanne Kiesanowski. “Henrietta showed a lot of progression already after only a few months in Europe and Barbara has kept improving from her junior years and is ready to move to a World Tour team after racing at a very high level in the elites.”

“They both have shown strength in stage racing and have the abilities to be GC contenders in the future,” Kiesanowski added. “We’re excited to work with them and help them develop over the next two seasons.” 

The team looks forward to welcoming Christie and Malcotti to the line-up for the next two years and is thrilled to have Ray returning. We’re not done yet, stay tuned for more rider announcements over the coming weeks.

— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com

Joe Dombrowski signs with Team Astana for two seasons – Astana

Joe Dombrowski signs with Team Astana for two seasons

US rider Joe Dombrowski is set to join Team Astana. The 30-year-old climber, who turned pro in 2013, is going to spend the two following seasons of 2022 and 2023 in the Kazakh team.

“Astana is a big team with a long history and this team has had great successes in the sport for many years, and I am excited to become a part of that. I am looking forward to meeting the team and to sitting down with the management at the training camps this off season and to establishing my objectives. Whether that’s to help the team or the opportunity to ride for my own results, it is going to be a great new challenge for me”, – said Joe Dombrowski.

Joe Dombrowski is a well-known climber and stage race specialist, a strong helper for team leaders at the Grand Tours and an attacking rider, who is always looking for a stage win.

Most notably, this year Dombrowski took a very beautiful victory on Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia. Other impressive results in his palmarès include overall victory at the Tour of Utah in 2015, fourth place at the Amgen Tour of California in 2015, fifth place at the Colorado Classic in 2018, and 12th place in the overall standings of the Giro d’Italia in 2019.

“First of all, in Joe Dombrowski we see a strong climber and an experienced helper for team leaders at the Grand Tours. Our team is going to change a lot in the upcoming season, and we are happy to strengthen our Grand Tour group with such a reliable and versatile rider like Joe. But, of course, we understand that with the experience he gained during the last years, Dombrowski could be a rider we can count on looking for a stage win or going for the General Classification in a small stage race. It is still early to talk about his goals in his first season in our team, but I am quite sure this move can be successful for both sides, our team and the rider”, – said Aleksandr Vinokurov, 2022 Team Astana General Manager.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astanapremiertech.com

Rally Cycling signs high-flying Gage Hecht – Rally Cycling

Rally Cycling has signed American Gage Hecht as the first new rider for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The 23-year-old from Parker, Colorado signs from the US-based Aevolo team. 

The step up to the ProTeam ranks marks the realization of a dream for the multi-talented rider who describes himself as a lover of Classics-style races who isn’t afraid to do his turn for the good of the team.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to race in Europe,” said Hecht. “The team is a really cool platform to make that jump and I’ve heard amazing things about Jonas [Carney] and the rest of the staff about how they treat the riders. I’m really excited to be working with them.” 

Hecht has been racing on the road with Aevolo since 2017 and has displayed his talents in the biggest stateside races. In 2018, at just 20 years of age, he beat WorldTour riders in the opening stage of the Colorado Classic and in 2021 took victory in the time trial at the Joe Martin Stage Race and finished second overall. 

“We’ve been talking for a few years now, and we feel the timing is right as he is ready to commit fully to the road,” said performance director Jonas Carney“Gage is one of the best young riders coming out of North America right now and we feel he has a ton of potential.”

The Coloradan is the current US national cyclocross champion, a discipline he has entertained many fans by competing in. Like so many athletes in recent years who have made the successful transition from mud to asphalt, Hecht believes the transferable skills have left him in good stead.  

“Cyclocross gives you a different type of strength,” he says. “It’s not so much a sprinter’s power, but this ability to just do repeated hard efforts out of the corners without burying yourself. That skill is going to help me a lot as I transition to a full European calendar with the team.”

Away from cycling, Hecht is an aviation enthusiast who holds a private pilot’s license and is currently completing a degree in aviation aerospace science. He also plays the ukulele, but not at the same time.

The team looks forward to welcoming Hecht to its ranks for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. Stay tuned as more roster announcements are expected over the coming weeks.

— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com

Gianni Moscon signs on for two years at Team Astana – Astana

Gianni Moscon signs on for two years at Team Astana

Italian rider Gianni Moscon is set to join Team Astana, where the 27-year-old individual time trial and one-day race specialist will ride in the colours of the Kazakh team in 2022 and 2023.

“After six years spent in one team, I am going to take a serious step in my career. I think that this is a kind of challenge for me, motivation to keep on growing, and a new experience that I am sure will be successful. Over the years, I have managed to accumulate a lot of experience, and now I would like to use it to the fullest in a new team, in a new environment. In my first season in Astana, I hope to be as useful as possible to the team and, of course, I will strive to achieve some personal successes. I hope that I will be able to perform in the best possible way at the races of the highest level. Together with the new team, General Manager Alexandr Vinokurov, the coaches and sports directors, we still have to discuss and make plans for the new season. There are a lot of big and important races on the calendar, so I hope that I can prove myself and achieve some serious results”, – said Gianni Moscon.

Gianni Moscon is well-known for his attacking style of racing which brought him many important results, both in one-day and stage races. Signing his first neo-pro contract back in 2016 after a number of impressive wins (Piccolo Giro di Lombardia, road race of the U23 Italian National Championships, Trofeo Citta di San Vendemiano), Moscon has continued to achieve impressive results in the WorldTour.

In 2016, the Italian won the General Classification of the Arctic Race of Norway and finished third at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, and in 2017 he won the Italian National Championships Individual Time Trial title and took a solid third place at Il Lombardia. In 2018, Moscon became back to back Italian ITT champion, won Giro della Toscana, Coppa Agostoni and the overall standings of the Tour de Guanxi.

This season, Moscon has continued to deliver victories, with two stage wins at the Tour of the Alps and victory at the GP Lugano.

“We are pleased to welcome Gianni Moscon, a very strong and versatile rider, to our team. As well as being suited to one-day races and individual time trials, Gianni is a reliable team rider who can provide powerful support for the team’s Grand Tour leaders. After six years in the same team, we hope that this move to Astana will allow Gianni to further develop as a rider, especially as he is still young, and will inspire him and help him to unlock his rich potential even more. The transfer of Gianni Moscon is an unconditional strengthening of the team’s position, both in one-day races and the Grand Tours, for the next two seasons”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, the team’s 2022 General Manager.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astanapremiertech.com