The former Garmin team, which made its Tour debut a decade 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. Education First, with its kaleidoscopic jerseys and pink shoulders, is taking on with the support of Cannondale. 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 three other unexpected top 10s: Bradley Wiggins, 4th in 2009, Ryder Hesjedal, 7th in 2010 and Tom Danielson, 9th 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 11th overall and 2nd in Pra-Loup, Dan Martin was 2nd in Mûr-de-Bretagne and Cauterets, and Hesjedal finished 3rd on the Alpe d'Huez. The drought got even worse in 2016, with Pierre Rolland finishing 7th in Culoz and Navardauskas in the same place in Paris as their best results. The Frenchman, now in the fourth decade of life, is riding as a back-up to the Colombian to go on the attack without worrying about much wealthier squads.
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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