In December 2018, Jonathan Kelver Caicedo took a long-haul flight to Girona, Spain to join EF Education First Pro Cycling for their December training camp. He felt timid venturing far from his home in Ecuador, coming to terms with a new life that awaited him in Europe. It’s a big step to take, the choice to leave everything familiar behind, not only his family and friends, but also the familiarity of his home country’s racing.
It’s a regular topic of conversation with new riders who come over from the Americas to compete in Europe, just how dramatically unfamiliar the style of racing is; it was no different for . Caicedo
“Racing across in Europe always feels quite radical,” Caicedo, says. “In how different these races are raced, you are confronted with another level pretty quickly over here. It’s always difficult in the beginning, you think to yourself that you’re never going to get onto the same level as the riders over here,” he continues.
As the 2019 season comes to a close, Caicedo reflects positively on his first year racing in the WorldTour. With the 2020 season on the horizon, he is set to continue racing in pink with EF Education First Pro Cycling as his contract has been extended.
“To be a part of EF is something to be really proud of, it’s a team that has a great image and is something to really believe in. Here in Europe the team is also really well respected, and now back in my country people know more about EF and what it represents, they know about the brand and all about how it is involved in our sport,” Caicedo says with pride.
This season has seen Caicedo start and complete his first ever Grand Tour at the Giro d’Italia; take fourth place at the Italian stage race Adriatica Ionica Race, and compete in other prestigious stage races such as the Tour de Romandie and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, along with arduous one day Classics, Strade Bianche and San Sebastián.
During June back in Ecuador, he impressively took the national championship title in both the road race and time trial; this was to be a season that would surpass his own expectations but also demonstrate to him that with continued hard work these are performances are something to build upon for next year.
“Caicedo has faced the familiar challenges for a young rider racing and living for the first time in Europe,” sport director Charly Wegelius says. “Nonetheless, he has shown glimpses of talent that proves he has a lot more to give if he has the time to adapt. Finishing the Giro was a big leap in his development, and I believe that he can build on this work over the winter and into next year.”
It’s been a year of accelerated learning: “At the beginning of this year, I raced some big races that were pretty tough for me but they have given me so much experience,” he notes. “I think this has been worth so much and has helped show how I’ve progressed. I have learned what it’s like to race in Europe alongside this team, and I feel prepared to race more races like this going forward.”