Come 2019 Taylor Phinney will be crushing cobbles at the Spring Classics with EF Pro Cycling as he will return to the team next season. As Phinney eases into his off-season we chat about the drama of the Hell of the North, how the Tour de France is like playing Call of Duty, and superpowers.
Take us through this year, what’s been the highs and lows?
From a professional standpoint the highlight of my year was definitely Paris-Roubaix and being a factor in that race. I’ve wanted to be up there and wanted to be riding with those guys for my whole career, so it was cool to have the stars align for that one and have a good day.
I always enjoy the Tour de France and finishing always feels good, although this time wasn’t so great finishing with a broken face, so I didn’t have as much energy to celebrate. I had to go to visit the doctor the next day, but I don’t even think that was a low point; there haven’t really been any.
Why do you like Paris-Roubaix so much?
I think I always had a strong passion towards Paris-Roubaix, there’s just something about that race. There’s a level of drama it has that doesn’t exist in any other race on the calendar. It was always the race that I looked forward to watching before I started racing it. I mean the races in Belgium are part of the same family and they fit into the same category but in my eyes they’re just not on the same level as Paris-Roubaix.
But if you talk to Italians or Belgians, Tour of Flanders is the be-all-and-end all and Paris-Roubaix is just an afterthought for whatever reason. But Paris-Roubaix is the jam and I think it’s sort of the last type of race that I can be good at. In this sport you see the trend of the races are changing and getting harder and hillier and more suited to smaller riders. So we kind of have these last races to hang onto to hope to do well at, for me that’s Paris-Roubaix. It’s the one race I do all year which I’m not at a weight disadvantage, because I just weigh a lot more than everybody else being 6 ft 5.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen in the peloton this year?
Probably the Tour de France tear gas day, that was the craziest thing. Yeah, that was a trip, I felt like I was in a video game. It was like I was playing Call of Duty or something, because you went through this protest they broke up and then all of a sudden you’re like, ‘I can’t breathe’ and then you’re having trouble seeing and everyone else is coughing around you. The old alarm bells start to ring in your head, you’re like: “What the hell is happening?”
You’ve extended with the team. How have you found riding for EF Pro Cycling this year?
I mean I love it, there’s no other team that I could envision myself racing for in the professional peloton. I feel like I can be honest with everyone around me and myself, and there’s not a ton of expectations thrown on you, on what you need to be and what you need to look like, and how you need to act. They just let you explore yourself and let you be who you want to be.
The team obviously want to win races and do well and that’s a priority, but there’s not this cookie cutter that you need to be a certain way or ride your bike a certain to be on the team, which you’ll find on a lot of other programmes.
When you heard about some of the new, offbeat races the team will line up for next year, what did you think?
I think that it is the greatest thing ever. I mean when we were first hearing little rumours about the change and that Rapha wanted to come on board, it felt like all these different ideas that I had been talking about with friends, all these adventures I had been thinking about, it was like someone had read my mind.
If you were able to shotgun a race next year, which one would it be?
Dirty Kanza! I would really like to do Dirty Kanza.
Describe EF Pro Cycling team in one word…
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
There’s a lot of responsibility in that question. I mean, my gut instinct is to say I’d like to fly but that is kinda selfish. Actually I think I’d like to be like the moon and manipulate the tides. I’m not sure what I would be able to do with that but I’m sure I’d be able to figure something out.
It doesn’t have to just be the sea, it could be water in general…
Yeah, because inside your body is 70% water, if I could manipulate that, you know how weird I could make people feel all the time, it would be dope. I think I actually just created a new superhero [still to be named].
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Joe Dombrowski has re-signed with EF Pro Cycling for the upcoming season. The American finished fifth overall at the 2018 Colorado Classic and sixth overall at the 2018 Tour of Utah.
“It’s not a secret that the last couple of seasons have not been what I wanted results-wise,” said Dombrowski. “I’m focused on doing what I need to do to get back to the the level that I know I’m capable of in races.”
“It’s great to have Joe back,” said EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughers. “He knows our team and has been a great presence here over the years. Joe had a spectacular 2016 season where he was in multiple breaks at that year’s Giro and finished third in the hardest mountain stage. The last couple years have been a bit of a struggle for him, but in the end, talent doesn’t just go away. We want to give that talent an opportunity to rebuild.”
Dombrowski, 27, has raced four seasons in argyle following his move to the American-registered outfit from Team Sky, where he spent his neo-pro seasons.
“This team has a great environment, and having been here a while now, I knew that coming back I would be a part of that,” said Dombrowski. “I would consider my teammates as my friends, and I think that cohesion can go a long way in getting the the most of out of a team and an individual.”
The team’s newly announced alternative race program appeals to Dombrowski, who is has been an occasional participant in non-road cycling events throughout his career.
“Joe was sort of our first index, the first rider we dipped into alternative races, at the 2016 Leadville 100,” said Vaughters. “He competes in some cyclocross, too. We felt like he would be a great fit for some of the alternative racing we’d be doing next season and beyond. We’re all pretty excited about that.”
“My first focus is, of course, on the traditional road calendar, but the alternative race program is also quite interesting. I got my start racing mountain bike and cyclocross. I still jump in the odd cyclocross race in the off-season and in 2016 I raced Leadville with this team,” said Dombrowski. “Cycling’s fan base, particularly in America, is a participatory one. It’s not the same as the traditional American sports in that sense. Professional road cycling can be quite insular and convoluted. With a participatory fan base, watching races is not what creates a feeling of engagement in the sport.
“My motivation to race in other events in the past has always been as a fun outlet, but I have also found that they develop a strong connection to the cycling community,” Dombrowski added. “It’s something I like to see as a way of giving back and engaging with the community that has allowed me to have a career in this sport. I think this project can be just that on a much larger scale, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.”
Like his teammates, Dombrowski has enjoyed the introduction of EF Education First into the team and the sport.
“EF has changed things for us in the sense that they feel less like a ‘partner’ or a ‘sponsor’ in a traditional sense. They feel more integrated. Almost as though we are truly co-workers,” said Dombrowski. “You get that feeling especially when they bring employees to races and we coordinate on events. It’s been an interesting change. I’ve never been in a team where there hasn’t been a separation between team and sponsor. It’s nice that as owners they’re invested in bringing in some of the positive aspects of a company their size and scope into our smaller team.”
CONNECT WITH EF EDUCATION FIRST – DRAPAC P/B CANNONDALE
EF Education First and Rapha announce a major new partnership to revolutionize the way professional cycling is presented, with the aim of taking a disruptive approach to the sport throughout the 2019 season and beyond. The move marks Rapha’s return to men’s WorldTour professional cycling after a two-year hiatus.
Rapha will bring their creative credentials to EF Pro Cycling, and together they will focus on profiling inspirational and charismatic riders and showcasing their stories. Coverage will include regular shows from inside the team, with some developed and presented by the riders themselves. Cameras will follow the racers on a year-long journey through the most interesting events in cycling, offering a new window into all aspects of the sport.
This new partnership follows a two-year study conducted by Rapha into the future of professional cycling. Led by four academic experts around the world and based on interviews with more than 50 of the most experienced stakeholders in the sport, the project examined in detail the opportunities and challenges facing road cycling at large. The project found that there is vast opportunity to grow the sport and increase its overall value by converting more cyclists into fans and connecting more meaningfully with a modern audience.
It is this foundation that Rapha and the EF team will build upon. Storytelling and creative content has been part of Rapha’s business since its launch in 2004, resulting in over 300 films created in its 15-year history, and several EF riders and staff are already known as some of the sport’s most colorful.
Together, Rapha and EF will celebrate the team’s characters and heroes, and will explore not only the traditional heart of cycling in the Grand Tours and Classics but also bring new formats and disciplines into focus. A number of EF racers will ride a mixed calendar of events in the 2019 season, including the WorldTour schedule and also criteriums, ultra-endurance races and renowned mixed-terrain events. This coverage will be coupled with live events in Rapha Clubhouses and other venues around the world, building on the local cycling communities that the brand has been developing since the company’s inception.
Building on Rapha’s previous success in the WorldTour and race-proven range of Pro Team kit, the team will wear the most technically advanced and visually striking clothing in the professional peloton. The new designs will be released soon.
Simon Mottram said: “Rapha started in 2004 because of my own love for road racing. Racing has always been something that inspires us and our customers – it’s our common ground. Through our sponsorships with Rapha-Condor, Rapha Focus, Team Sky, Team WIGGINS and CANYON//SRAM, we’ve had great success, but are still frustrated that the sport can only grow if it fundamentally reforms. For this reason, we are excited to play a role in moving the sport forwards through the new venture with EF. We are passionate about making it reach more fans and be a better spectacle so that more people come to appreciate how great it is. As a fan, I’m so excited about us being back in the men’s WorldTour.”
Jonathan Vaughters said: “Rapha is a great partner for us, from their world-class kit to the cycling culture we both want to help grow. We aim to open up cycling to a wider group of people; we’re interested in exploring all aspects of the community, from racing and its core fans to the people who just got on bikes. By bringing some of our athletes to grassroots and mainstream races across the world, we’re hoping to deepen the relationship between our team and other riders, and have some fun while we’re at it. We’re also going to give people more insight into the sport than before, showing a rare, unvarnished perspective of these athletes’ lives. The human element of cycling is very, very powerful. And as for the kit… we look forward to building on the strong visual identity forged by POC and bringing our style into a new chapter. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
By showing a true portrait of the riders and engaging at both the sport’s pinnacle and outskirts, Rapha and EF Pro Cycling will give fans plenty of reasons to cheer in 2019 and beyond.
About EF Education First:
EF Education First is an international education company that focuses on language, academics, and cultural experience. Founded in 1965, EF has more than 580 offices and schools in over 50 countries. Moved by the powerful way cycling unites people of diverse backgrounds in a peaceful, fun, and friendly way to achieve extraordinary athletic feats, EF entered professional cycling in 2018 to help spread its mission of “opening the world through education.”
Rapha was established in 2004 to address a need for stylish, high performance cycling clothing. It now provides products for every road cyclist and continues to push the boundaries of innovation in cyclewear. Alongside this, Rapha has cultivated a global community of passionate cyclists who come together as members of the Rapha Cycling Club (RCC), the largest club of its kind in the world. Rapha’s retail model and unique brand values come to life in its many rides and events and global network of Clubhouses that combine retail, a café and cycling culture under the same roof.
Die in Amerika registrierte Mannschaft verwendet Sattelstützen, Lenker, Vorbauten und Radsätze der italienischen Firma.
“Wir sind stolz auf unsere Partnerschaft mit einem hochkarätigen professionellen Team wie EF Education First – Drapac p / b Cannondale”, sagte Maurizio Bellin, General Manager von FSA Europe. “Full Speed Ahead und Vision haben immer daran geglaubt, dass es wichtig ist, die Marke durch gesponserte Teams zu vergrößern. Das Feedback von Profisportlern, die die wichtigsten Rennen des UCI-Kalenders bestreiten, ist für uns sehr wertvoll, um die Sichtbarkeit und das Bewusstsein unserer Produkte zu erhöhen und die technische Qualität der Produkte, die wir allen Fahrern zur Verfügung stellen möchten, zu verbessern. ”
Full Speed Ahead und Vision werden EF Education First – Drapac p / b Cannondale mit einer Auswahl an Spitzenmodellen aus allen möglichen Bereichen versorgen, vom Kopfsteinpflaster der Klassiker bis hin zu den steilsten Anstiegen der Grand Tours.
“Ich freue mich sehr, FSA und Vision in dieser Saison bei uns zu haben”, sagte Sportdirektor Andreas Klier. “Sie verstehen, dass die Leistung jedes einzelnen Fahrers der Schlüssel zu einem erfolgreichen Team ist, und sie möchten sicherstellen, dass alle unsere Fahrer die bestmögliche Ausrüstung haben, die ihnen zur Verfügung steht. Obwohl diese Saison jung ist, habe ich die harte Arbeit gesehen, die FSA und Vision unternommen haben, um mögliche Probleme zu lösen, bevor sie passieren.
“Die Teile und Räder, die sie uns liefern, sind die neuesten, und unsere Radfahrer wissen das sehr zu schätzen”, fügte Klier hinzu. “Ich bin mehr als glücklich, Hand in Hand mit FSA und Vision zu arbeiten, um Material zu liefern, das unseren Fahrern ermöglicht, auf höchstem Niveau konkurrenzfähig zu sein und unsere gesamte Organisation glücklich und erfolgreich zu halten.”
Erfahren Sie mehr über die neue Partnerschaft hier: https://slipstreamsports.com/ef-education-first-drapac-cannondale-vision-fsa/
VERBINDEN SIE SICH MIT EF EFUCATION FIRST – DRAPAC P / B CANNONDALE
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