EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale is excited to announce the mid-season signing of Julius van den Berg. The 21-year-old’s two-year neo-pro contract begins with immediate effect as he makes the leap up to the WorldTour with #PinkArgyle.
“Julius is one of the top U23 riders in the world,” said team co-founder and CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He’s won a few impressive races and finished second at the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs. As we look forward to reinforcing our cobbles squad and strengthening our TTT operation, Julius is a natural pick.
“We expect Julius to be most useful this summer at the Binck Bank Tour and Worlds TTT,” Vaughters added. “We anticipate successfully racing him in those two events. If he were a stagiaire with us first, we wouldn’t be able to have him in either race, so this is a better way for us to approach his contract.”
Van den Berg comes to the American-registered squad from the Dutch development program SEG Racing Academy. Asked what he considers his specialty, Van der Berg simply notes: “Attacking!” He came to cycling due to his father’s love for riding.
“I’m really excited to race with such a great team,” said Van den Berg. “It’s crazy how fast it all went. It’s a dream come true, and it is really special for me. I strongly believe this is the best step I can do in my cycling career right now. The team environment is great, so it will be easy to fit in and be useful on the road, especially in the classics.”
Notable results for the young rider include a victory in the U23 Dutch national time trial championships, a stage win at Tour de Normandie, along with best young rider and fourth overall, and wins at lesser-known one-day classics, including Ronde van Noord-Holland and Midden-Brabant Poort Omloop.
Van den Berg dreams of winning Omloop het Nieuwsblad.
“He seems to have a really good nose for getting into breaks,” said Vaughters. “He’s not a pure time triallist. He’s a good one, but he’s also a great attacker. There was a stage of the Tour de Bretagne where he single-handedly disassembled a bunch of French Pro Conti teams that were trying to bring him back. It was really impressive.”
“I consider myself really lucky to have close to four years within the SEG Racing Academy’s development program,” said Van den Berg. “That allowed me to grow as a rider and keep improving each year. This season has been the confirmation of all the hard work.
“Now it is time to move on, and I’m really looking forward to starting my run with the team,” Van den Berg continued. “With high profile riders like Sep Vanmarcke and Sebastian Langeveld in the classics team, it will be nothing but helpful for me. I want to learn a lot from them and be a better rider in the future, so I can target goals like Flanders or Roubaix for myself.”
Van den Berg joins Kim Magnusson and Logan Owen on #PinkArgyle’s 2018 neo-pro roster and Cyrus Monk and Jimmy Whelan, both from Drapac-EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development Team, as late-season additions. While it’s unusual for a U23 rider to jump straight into the WorldTour deep end mid-season, Van den Berg has what it takes to swim.
“He’s ready,” said Vaughters. “A lot of U23 kids, you have to bring them along slowly, but we expect Van den Berg to make quick work of the acclimatizing to the WorldTour.”
“I can’t wait to get started with EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale,” said Van den Berg. “It is a very unique opportunity to start in this way, and I will work really hard in order to make the most of it.”