EF EDUCATION - EASYPOST
The team formerly known as Garmin made its Tour de France debut fifteen years ago in Brest. It is living proof that financial clout and programming are not the be-all and end-all of modern cycling. Although it has one of the smallest budgets in the division and often has to contend with the uncertainties clouding its future, it managed to place Rigoberto Urán on the second step of the podium in 2017. Pink-clad Education First has since picked up the baton. The origin story of this American team lies in the anti-doping philosophy championed by manager Jonathan Vaughters and David Millar, a rider who rose from the ashes following a salutary break.
Christian Vande Velde's fourth place in Paris in 2018 heralded 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 tenth place in 2013 put the team back on track after a wretched performance in 2012, when it was involved in a mass crash in Lorraine. In 2014, after winning the Critérium du Dauphiné, the American pit bull was forced to quit the Tour with a heavy heart and a battered body, but the team staged an emotional comeback with Ramūnas Navardauskas's victory in Bergerac.
The outfit from Boulder, Colorado, then entered a dry spell that would last 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. The team has been stuck in the doldrums in the late 2010s, as a conservative Urán settled for seventh in 2019. In 2018, the American squad was the talk of the town when Lawson Craddock became the first ever rider to rank dead last in the general classification from the first stage to the last, as he soldiered on to Paris after cracking his shoulder blade in a crash in the opening stage. The 2020 Tour de France was buzzing with excitement over the debut of rising star Sergio Higuita, but it was fellow Colombian Daniel Martínez who stole the show with his victory on Puy Mary. Higuita scored a near-miss in Quillan (third) in 2021. He finished the Tour (eighth on the Col du Portet and seventh at Luz-Ardiden) in better shape than Rigoberto Urán, who slipped from second place overall on the eve of the Mont Ventoux to tenth by the time the peloton reached Paris. Before striking gold with a stage win in the Vuelta, the battle-hardened Colombian floundered in 25th place in the Tour, where he was overshadowed by his American teammate Neilson Powless, who finished twelfth overall after coming within a whisker of the yellow jersey two days in a row: once behind Wout van Aert following the cobblestone stage and once behind Tadej Pogačar in Longwy. Alberto Bettiol, second in Mende, failed to replicate Magnus Cort's triumph in Megève. The Dane did not wait until this success to compensate for the flop of Stefan Bissegger, who crashed twice in the time trial in Copenhagen. He broke away every day in his country, becoming wildly popular among the fans, and continuing the tradition when the race headed back to France to make sure he went over every little climb in first place and keep the polka-dot jersey until stage 9!
The team signed the Olympic gold medallist Richard Carapaz, third in the 2021 Tour de France, to lay the groundwork for the post-Urán era.
- Final victory0
- Stages victories10
- Yellows Jerseys7
- Other race Won0
Overall wins: 0
Podium finishes: 1
- 2017: Rigoberto Urán, second
Stage wins: 10
- 2011: team time trial in Les Essarts, Tyler Farrar in Redon and Thor Hushovd in Lourdes and Gap
- 2012: David Millar in Annonay-Davézieux
- 2013: Dan Martin in Bagnères-de-Bigorre
- 2014: Ramūnas Navardauskas in Bergerac
- 2017: Rigoberto Urán in Chambéry
- 2020: Daniel Martínez on Puy Mary
- 2022: Magnus Cort in Megève
Secondary classification wins: 1
- 2011: team classification
Yellow jerseys: 7
- 2011: Thor Hushovd, seven days
STARTS: 15 (since 2008)
2: the highest place in the general classification of the Tour de France attained by Jonathan Vaughters' men so far: Rigoberto Urán in 2017, building on 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's team goes toe to toe with the Astana powerhouse in a prelude to Bradley Wiggins's 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 as well as Thor Hushovd's yellow jersey.
13 July 2012: David Millar, the living embodiment of the team's anti-doping policy, achieves his ultimate redemption by reacquainting himself with success at the Tour in Annonay Davézieux.
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