Here’s to a great (and unpredictable) cycling season. We’re excited to roll out our favorite moments from this year. Plus we’re giving you a shot to add more pink to your closet — just in time for the holidays. Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win.
#1 Rigo’s Comeback to Cycling
After a career-threatening injury at the 2019 Vuelta a España, Rigoberto Urán’s racing season abruptly ended. The cycling superstar had no choice but to spend a long time recovering in his home country, Colombia and ended up spending 23 total days in the hospital. That’s enough time to make anyone rethink their career or second guess themselves. Yet a fractured shoulder blade, fractured left collarbone, several broken ribs and a punctured lung wasn’t going to stop Rigo from looking ahead to 2020. His comeback performance at the Tour Colombia proved that he was not only back, but his recovery efforts were more than paying off. Urán may not have been in contention to win, but he helped his Colombia teammate Sergio Higuita get the overall victory right before the coronavirus pandemic halted the sport.
Fast forward to months later, and EF Pro Cycling was assembling our 2020 Tour squad. For Sports Director Charly Wegelius, having Rigo on the roster was a sure thing. “A real champion shows their character when their chips are down, and he’s shown throughout this process, even with all the uncertainties, the great character he truly is,” said Wegelius.
Rigo immediately silenced anyone who might have thought that his injury would render him unable to race like he once did. He did what he does best: riding his bike and riding it fast… and making the fans smile along the way. His first stop before the taking on Tour was at the Dauphiné, where he helped his fellow Colombian teammate Dani Martínez win the overall victory. So that’s two races where Rigo (usually the team leader) helped his fellow teammates take the win. “I was wondering how I was going to feel riding in the peloton again but I feel fine, maybe I felt a bit nervous for a start going into corners on the descents, but on the whole I was just extremely happy to be back out there again,” Urán said after the final Dauphiné stage.
It’s hard to imagine a personality like Rigo would ever be nervous, especially if you watched him throughout this year’s Tour de France. “He is so calm. Nothing stresses him,”, said his Tour teammate Tejay van Garderen. It was clear after a couple stages that Urán had become the squad’s best chance at a podium finish. He rode a calculated and strategic race, and made appearances in the front group throughout many stages. At one point, it even looked at those he was a sure bet to finish third overall. And although Rigo ended up finishing 8th overall, he entertained all of us watching and proved just how much of a fighter he truly is. “To think of where Rigo has come from in the last year, it’s really great to see where he is now and how well he’s doing,” said Charly Wegelius.
Here’s to seeing what the future holds for Rigo and team in 2021. And an extra special thanks to you for riding along with us in 2020. We’ve sent emails to the winners of our giveaway and we thank everyone who signed up to our list. See you in the new year!
#2 Lachlan’s Alt Calendar Adventures
Much like his pal Alex, Lachlan Morton took matters into his own hands when alternative races were being canceled this year. If you’ve followed Lachy’s career at all, you would know that he’s not exactly the kind of guy to wait around. First stop on his alternative calendar journey: the Kokopelli Trail. Lachy rode completely solo from Moab, Utah to Loma, Colorado in just over 11 hours. A widely impressive feat, and a much needed break would follow. Just kidding. It’s Lachlan we’re talking about. He naturally had already lined up the next event: breaking the Everesting record.
“What’s everesting?” you ask. It’s climbing on your bike to match the height of Mount Everest, more than 29,000 feet. The Aussie pro made an incredible attempt at first, but faulty data had him back once he realized he didn’t technically break it. “Well, looks like I gotta do it again,” said Morton. This meant he needed to ride seven plus hours again (just another Saturday). Lachlan rode the required 8,848 meters of ascent in 7 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds, marking a new record that day. Plus he added an extra lap just for good measure. This only solidified the fact that (in his wife’s Rachel’s words) “he’s a real sicko.”
The Kokopelli and Everesting records still weren’t enough for Lachlan, so he fixated on something even bigger. Enter Badlands. Morton finished the 700 kilometer race in 43 hours and 30 minutes. Yep, the guy rode his bike for nearly 43 hours straight, only taking about a 19 minute break and riding in the pitch black of night. This 85 percent off-pavement route took Lachy through the mountains in southern Spain with over 15,000 meters in climbing. He faced some of the most remote places in Europe, including the Hoya de Guadix, Gorafe Desert, and the Veleta Pass.
“It’s about putting yourself in difficult situations often enough that they’re no longer difficult,” said Morton after finishing one of the most incredible solo rides cycling has ever seen. Despite this guy’s chill and laid back attitude, Lachlan proved this year something we already kind of knew: he’s on a mission to disrupt norms and push boundaries in cycling. “I believe that the purpose of professional sport is to inspire participation,” said Morton. Watching this guy in 2020 definitely motivated people to get on their bikes and just ride. We only imagine what he’s cooking up for 2021.
For a little extra motivation on your next ride, sign up for our email list here to get a shot at winning one of our 2020 jerseys. This is the last chance to sign up before we announce the winners are picked tomorrow!
#3 Giro Collab with Palace + Rapha + Cannondale
This was one one of the strangest of cycling seasons… ever. So when Palace (a skateboarding brand) decided to step into the cycling world at this October’s Giro d’Italia — all bets were off. In collaboration with our clothing sponsor Rapha, they created a limited edition switch-out kit for EF Pro Cycling, since the leader at the Giro wears pink. See the problem?
Well, with every problem comes a solution. And our solution just happened to have a duck on it. To top it all off, Cannondale even made special edition road bikes for us with hand-painted framesets that had even more heads turning. “We’ve gone against tradition and it looks so good. Look good, feel good, race good,” said Giro first-timer Jimmy Whelan.
You can enter to win a jersey of your own here by subscribing to our mailing list. It doesn’t have a duck on it, but it still will look great on your rides in 2021.
#4 Hugh’s Podium Finish at La Vuelta
It’s hard to believe only months before his podium finish at Spain’s biggest race, the Tour de France team was excited to guide a less experienced Carthy throughout that race. And while Carthy rode well at the Tour, he became a different rider at La Vuelta. Usually in a domestique role, Carthy surprised those watching by quickly becoming a contender to actually win the thing. Carthy ended up placing in 3rd in the general classification and simply put: it was a HUGE deal. Some might even refer to him as a certified cycling legend after his jaw-dropping stage win atop the Angliru.
“The Angliru is mythical in cycling history. If you win on top of that climb, your name will be in the history books forever,” said Sports Director Juanma Garate. The British pro also became a crowd favorite with his deadpan humor and no-nonsense attitude. Thanks to Hugh for making this year’s Vuelta so exciting to watch. We’re ready to see what this Brit’s got in store for 2021.
Want to wear a pink jersey like Hugh? Have a shot and subscribe to our mailing list here!
#5 Sergio Higuita and Team Win Big at Tour Colombia
We had a lot of incredible lineups this year, but our squad at the Tour Colombia might have been our most epic. Rigo was back and would be joined by Dani and Sergio in their home country of Colombia. Add our Ecuadorian champ Jonathan Caicedo and American vets Tejay van Garderen and Lawson Craddock into the mix, and you’re bound to get a great result. By the end of the week, the team had won three stages, the overall title went to Sergio Higuita, and the team finished first in the team classification. Martinez finished in 2nd (after winning the 6th and final stage) and Caicedo finished right behind him, in 3rd place.
“Last year it was only a dream to one day win this race. It’s an incredible feeling to cap off all the hard work the team did this week,” said Higuita after the win. We expected great results with this crew, but didn’t anticipate a full-blown sweep.
“That was instinctive, impressive racing all week in Colombia,” said team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. And we can’t wait to be back to one of our favorite (and cycling-obsessed) countries in 2021.
Don’t forget to win something for yourself by entering to win a team jersey by signing up to our email list here!
# 6 Dani’s Monumental Stage Win at the Tour
Fresh off of his Dauphiné win, Dani Martínez was confident heading into the Tour de France. After a promising start at the Tour for Dani and team, things were running smoothly and morale was high. And despite just losing their spot as the overall team leaders and swapping out their yellow helmets back to pink, the guys still remained positive heading into stage 12. Dani’s Colombian counterpart Rigo Urán even gave us a little prediction into how the day would eventually pan out right before stage 13. “We have a strong team, so we can try to maybe do something in the break,” said Urán.
Rigo’s predictions came to fruition when the chase group arrived on the Col de Nerrone. Dani Martínez launched several attacks and made his way to the final climb, the Puy Mary Cantal. It was suddenly a battle for the stage between Martínez and Kämna, but in a steep uphill sprint, it was clear that this stage was Dani’s for the taking. He even reclaimed the team’s lead in the team classification and Rigo moved up to 4th place in the overall standings that day. Winning a stage at the Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of feeling and experience. And winning it the way Dani did? Totally unforgettable.
# 7 Big Stage Wins (Caicedo, Cort, Woods)
The best kinds of stage wins? The ones you don’t expect. Of course we never slept on any of these talented riders — but they all won stages where they didn’t see a victory coming. Cort’s win at La Vuelta had to have been the biggest surprise of all, especially because the Dane wasn’t trying to win it for himself. “Even with 10k to go, Magnus was still helping out Hugh. It was just a classy win. He always gives 100 percent to his teammates, so it’s awesome for him to get a win,” said his Vuelta teammate Mike Woods.
Woods also knows a thing or two about winning a stage this year. After breaking his femur in March, many might have thought Woods wouldn’t have recovered the strength to pull off big stage wins once the season resumed. Yet in typical Woodsy fashion, he made headlines quickly when he won a stage at the virtual Tour de France. This was a signal that the Canadian climber was ready to race and win once the season started back up. He backed it up with a stage win at Tirreno-Adriatico and a podium finish at La Fleche Wallonne. Fast forward to stage 7 of La Vuelta, and Woodsy surprised us all with a big win on a sprint finish.
And we can’t talk about big stage wins without mentioning one of our favorites of the year, Jonathan Caicedo at the Giro. This is Caicedo’s most significant career win and his face after he crossed the line definitely proved that. As did the reaction from his family back in Ecuador. Sporting his Ecuadorian champ/Duck jersey, Caicedo gave everyone watching stage 3 a spectacle that will be hard to forget. Despite the rain that day, he rode away in the final kilometers up a steep ascent after 150 kilometers of racing. “The last kilometers were a mixture of suffering, of emotions and pain. I can’t really believe it yet, it’s a dream come true,” said Caicedo.
Here’s to you guys on your stage wins this year. And don’t forget to win something for yourself by entering to win a team jersey by signing up to our email list here!
#8 Howes’ Dusty Route to the Kansas Border
Races were being postponed or canceled left and right this year, so Alex Howes decided to make one. And in typical Howesy fashion, he wasn’t going small. Ride 220-miles across Colorado to the Kansas border? This was the kind of alternative event that only Alex could come up with. Fortunately for him, his friend Spencer decided to join him on his 14-hour dusty route to the border. These two did have some company when they realized they were being followed by a rare headwind throughout their journey, as if the ride wasn’t difficult enough already. Howes and Powlison relied on a water filter, lots of snacks, and single headlight on their journey.
In the end, it proved to be all that they needed when they successfully crossed the border in the pitch black of night. Fortunately for us, a photographer documented most of their journey – as did Howes and Spencer themselves. You’d have to be pretty nuts to ride on a bike for 14 hours and then want to do it again. Yet despite not being able to move at all the next day, Howes quickly made it known that he was ready for the next one.
#9 – Tour Rookie Neilson Becomes Breakaway Star
Many watching the Tour de France may have thought an attack by rookie Neilson Powless in stage 2 was beginner’s luck. Or when he finished 4th in stage 6, perhaps that was a result of any excitement surrounding the fact that he was celebrating his 24th birthday. Cut to stage 8: Neilson finishes fifth in his first Pyrenean stage. Spot a trend?
According to his teammate and six-time Tour vet Jens Keukleire — Neilson Powless was hands down this year’s “breakaway king.” The breakout star of this year’s Tour was even so kind to share his breakaway tips with us. And we’ll take any advice from someone who spent 19 hours in breaks, at the Tour de France, nonetheless.
#10 – Ruben Wins Blue Mountain Jersey
As JV once put it, “Ruben is bold but he can back it up.” And his performance at this year’s Giro more than backed it up. He showed up to every stage ready to fight and once he got his first WorldTour stage — there was no stopping this expert climber. The course from San Salvo to Roccaraso was appropriately labeled as the queen stage, and as Guerriero made his way across the Apennines with over 4,000 meters of altitude gained on 4 categorized climbs — he quickly proved to all the spectators watching that he had a real shot at winning that beloved mountain jersey.
Guerriero certainly made us proud, but this was also Portugal’s first Giro d’Italia stage win in 31 years and the first time a Portuguse rider won a jersey at a Grand Tour race. He even got a phone call from the Portugese president, which he declined at first, thinking it was a reporter calling. Ruben ended up taking that phone call after all, and he quickly realized just how monumental his victory was for his country. “After the Giro, my life changed for two weeks. I did interviews on some Portuguese channels and had a visit with the president of Portugal. I felt that winning the stage and jersey were really important for all of them and the country was really proud,” said Guerreiro. Hats off to Portugal and Ruben for this incredible victory. The team looks forward to seeing what Ruben has in store for 2021 and what other jerseys he might take along the way.