The former Garmin team, which made its Tour debut eleven years ago in Brest, is proof that financial clout and programming are not the be-all and end-all of modern cycling. Despite working with one of the smallest budgets in the division and the uncertainties clouding its future, it managed to place Rigoberto Urán on the second step of the podium in 2017. Pink-clad Education First took over with Cannondale's support. The origin story of this American team lies in the anti-doping philosophy championed by two men: manager Jonathan Vaughters and David Millar, a rider reborn following a salutary break.
Christian Vande Velde's fourth place in Paris preceded another three unexpected top 10 finishes: Bradley Wiggins, fourth in 2009, Ryder Hesjedal, seventh in 2010 and Tom Danielson, ninth in 2011. Andrew Talansky's 10th place in 2013 put the team back on track after a hapless 2012 edition (mass crash in Lorraine). Having won the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2014, the American "pit bull" was forced to quit the Tour the following year with a heavy heart and a battered body, but his team recovered remarkably to win a thrilling victory in Bergerac thanks to Ramūnas Navardauskas.
The team from Boulder, Colorado then entered a dry spell that lasted until Urán's bike thrust carried the day in Chambéry in 2017. In 2015, Talansky finished eleventh overall and second in Pra-Loup, Dan Martin was second in Mûr-de-Bretagne and Cauterets, and Hesjedal finished third on the Alpe d'Huez. 2016 and 2018 were two lacklustre years for the outfit, with Urán a mere shadow of his former self and withdrawing from the race before the start of stage 12 in Bourg-Saint-Maurice due to the sequelae of a crash in the cobblestones of northern France. The team's major exploit in the previous edition was American Lawson Craddock managing to hold onto the bottom place in the general classification from beginning to end, soldiering on to Paris despite cracking his shoulder blade in a crash in the opening stage. EF Education First will be fielding Canadian former runner Michael Woods alongside Urán. The 32-year-old will be making his Tour debut after taking home the bronze medal in the last world championship (behind Alejandro Valverde and Romain Bardet).
Stage wins: 8
Secondary classification wins: 1
Yellow jerseys: 7
2: the best place in the Tour de France overall classification achieved by Jonathan Vaughters' men so far: Rigoberto Urán, who improved the fourth-place finishes of Christian Vande Velde in 2008 and Bradley Wiggins in 2009.
7 July 2009: in the team time trial, its speciality, Jonathan Vaughters' team goes head to head with the Astana powerhouse, a prelude to Bradley Wiggins' fourth place in the final classification.
4 July 2011: the day after his dream of winning the team time trial comes true, Vaughters savours the triumph of his home-grown sprinter Tyler Farrar in Redon and Thor Hushovd's yellow jersey.
13 July 2012: David Millar, the embodiment of the team's anti-doping policy, experiences final redemption by reacquainting himself with success at the Tour in Annonay Davézieux.
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