American rider Will Barta is set to join EF Pro Cycling in 2021.
“EF seems like a group that has a passion for the sport and performance, so I’m looking forward to being a part of that,” said Barta.
Barta is already a few steps ahead when it comes to getting familiar with his new teammates. “I’ve known Neilson and Logan for a long time as we grew up racing on the US National Team together. I also know Ruben Guerreiro from Axel Merckx’s team Hagens Berman-Axeon. It will be really fun to reconnect with those guys as teammates,” said Barta.
It’s been three years since Logan Owen and Will raced on the same team together, so these two are looking forward to picking up where they left off. “I’ve done quite a bit of racing with him since we were juniors and one thing that stuck out about Will is how hard he works,” said Owen.
When asked about other riders on the team, the 24-year-old pro said he’s long admired Tejay van Garderen’s career. “He’s a rider I’ve always looked up to. I’m really looking forward to learning from him,” said Barta. Van Garderen also hopes to learn a thing or two from Barta in return — noting his particularly sound time trialing skills.
“He has lots of talent and I hope I can help him reach his full potential. He will make an awesome addition to the team,” said van Garderen.
Barta started racing at age 11 with a youth club in Boise, Idaho called BYRDS where he raced until he was 18. He later gained notoriety with team CCC, especially at the AMGEN Tour of California where he was the second youngest rider at the race in 2016. Throughout his professional career, Barta has particularly excelled in the time trial events. He earned a seventh place at the Tour de Poitou-Charente and an eleventh place in the Tirreno Adriatico time trials. He no doubt has serious skills in that regard, but he’s also proved to be an all-rounder — especially after placing fourth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2017. The one day classic also happens to be his favorite cycling race.
“It always favored tough riders and I found that exciting. It really lived up to my expectations as a race,” said Barta.
However, most cycling fans will recognize Barta from his recent success at the 2020 Vuelta a España. Barta finished right outside of the top 20 for the general classification in the 18 stage event. Anyone watching the time trials during stage 13 saw Barta’s raw talent after he put on an incredible performance. He was inches away from winning his first ever stage in a Grand Tour, but two-time Vuelta winner Primoz Roglic was the only rider to beat him. And he did so by only one second. “It would have been super to win, but I’m still happy with my performance,” said Barta.
Outside of cycling, some of his main hobbies include both alpine and nordic skiing. “Unfortunately with cycling I am unable to downhill ski these days, but I still enjoy incorporating some nordic skiing into my winter training,” said Barta. During the offseason, Barta is looking forward to spending time on the slopes, and of course, training for the 2021 season. “I still feel that I am finding where my talents lie, but I am excited to keep developing with EF in various roles.”