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Friday, November 11, 2022

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Stefan de Bod signs with EF Education-EasyPost

The team sent me this news release:

Budding South African looks to excel in time trials and stage races
EF Education-EasyPost are proud to announce the addition of Stefan de Bod. The 25-year-old Olympian brings time trialing and stage racing experience to our roster.

Stefan de Bod

In just four seasons racing in the WorldTour, Stefan has proven himself to be a reliable teammate and a consistent rider, particularly when it comes to individual time trials. This year, Stefan placed seventh at the time trial at the UAE Tour in February, an improvement by one spot from his 2020 performance at the race’s TT, and also placed in the top ten at the Sibiu Cycling Tour time trial and the prologue at the Tour of Slovakia. He was the 2019 African continental champion in the time trial and has twice been the runner up at the South African time trial national championships.

While it wasn’t his first love, Stefan has come to appreciate time trialing and has worked to strengthen his aptitude in this solitary discipline.

“For sure time trialing is one of my specialties but I don’t think I’m a time trial specialist. I can do good results and potentially win but I won’t call myself a specialist. I don’t think anyone enjoys it but it’s a really nice feeling when you go at it and you get a good result. At the end of the day, when you win you know it’s because you were the strongest. Of course, there are aerodynamics and maybe one guy is more aero than another but at the end of the day it’s about who is the strongest and who can dig deepest to get to the finish line the quickest. That’s a good feeling. But I don’t think anyone enjoys that last couple of kilometers of a time trial. That’s not enjoyable,” Stefan says with a laugh.

Where does this ability to push through the unenjoyable aspects of the sport come from? Stefan notes that since the beginning of his cycling career, he has faced challenge after challenge but he has never let them stop him.

“My first professional year was 2019 and I only had a three month tourist visa in Europe so that was a really challenging year. I did so many races like the Tour of Turkey and the Tour of Guangxi to get more racing days. Then 2020 was Covid so I don’t need to say much about that. This year had a difficult start because of sickness. In the last couple of years, I feel like much of the time it was difficult but I still pushed to get good results. For the future it shows that I can do a lot if I can reach my full potential. I’m proud that I’ve gotten through these years and that I’ve learned a lot about perseverance and grit.”

Stefan is not the only person convinced of his potential. Jonathan Vaughters, EF Education-EasyPost CEO, has kept an eye on Stefan’s career and believes the South African will prove to be a valuable addition to the team.

“Stefan is a rider I’ve watched for quite a while,” Vaughters says. “He’s an underrated talent that can be a key asset to a team like ours trying to focus on big results in hilly races. His time trialing had gone under the radar, but is an example of his level of talent. My hope is we bring him up to his potential, and he becomes invaluable within this team.”

Stefan is based in Girona, Spain during the season, so he already knows several of his new teammates. The conversations he’s had with them about the team over the years made him sure that signing with EF Education-EasyPost was the right move for him.

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“Through the years I’ve always been looking at what a great team this is. The riders I know in Girona always have such positive things to say about the team and then there is the equipment. All the equipment the team uses is the best you can ask for. The people I spoke with always had positive energy and positive things to say about the team. It’s definitely going to be a good fit for me.”

Part of the fit is allowing Stefan room to grow and develop.

“In the last couple of years, I’ve had some really good results but I’d also been struggling to figure out what type of rider I am. I’m starting to figure it out,” he says. “I think I can develop into a really good breakaway specialist rider in big races and grand tours. Also I think I can develop into a GC rider for one week stage races. That’s my long term goal. I want to try to win stages from the breakaway because I see myself doing that first before I start going for the GC in one week races. Races like the Tour de Romandie, Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour de Suisse, the Dauphiné, these kinds of races are my favorite races where there are some mountains, some flat stages and normally there’s a time trial or a prologue. That’s the goal, to improve on those races.”

For now, Stefan has a few more weeks of downtime before the EF Education-EasyPost team camp in December when he will sit down with the sports directors to build a road map to reach his goals. Until then, you can find him relaxing with his family at his parents’ home in South Africa, soaking up the austral summer as he begins to look toward 2023.

“I’ve started training again slowly now after a few weeks off the bike. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s just a really nice feeling to be able to ride in amazing places across the world, to see incredible nature. In some of the places I go mountain biking in South Africa, there are places a car just can’t take you. For me, riding a bike is just a part of your life. You just need to. It’s one of the best things that exist.”

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Sam Bewley & Rene Mandri join Team Israel-Premier Tech as sports directors

Here’s the team’s announcement:

With preparation for the 2023 season underway, Israel – Premier Tech is pleased to welcome former professional cyclists Sam Bewley and Rene Mandri to the team’s Sports Director group.

IPT General Manager Kjell Carlström welcomed the team’s new additions at pre-season meetings in Barcelona this week.

“Our Sports Director group will have a new look next year with Sam Bewley and Rene Mandri adding their unique experience and a fresh outlook so we are excited to see them join the team. Steve Bauer will move into the role of Head Sports Director, a role he previously held at CCC Team, which will see Steve lead our DS group and work alongside Sporting Manager Rik Verbrugghe, while Eric Van Lancker will transition to an operations role. At the same time, I want to extend a big thank you to Zak Dempster, Claudio Cozzi, and Nicki Sørensen, who will be leaving IPT. They have all contributed significantly to the team over the past years and we wish them well with their next endeavours,” says Carlström.

Having retired after a 13-year cycling career this year, Bewley is excited to take on his next chapter as Sports Director with IPT.

“I’m really excited to start this new chapter in my cycling career and get stuck into my new role as Sports Director. After a long career as a pro, this felt like the natural next step for me and Israel – Premier Tech presented a great opportunity that will allow me to develop and also offer my experience to the team,” explains Bewley.

Mandri, also a former cyclist who retired in 2013, has recently been working as Manager for Team Ampler-Tartu2024 and is looking forward to a new challenge.

“In my recent work as Manager of Team Ampler-Tartu2024, I was really missing working as a Sports Director and being at the races. So I was looking for something more exciting and having a good structure around me. After the three days of meetings this week, I can see this is a great group of people and I’m excited to get started,” adds Mandri.

2023 IPT Sports Director group: Steve Bauer (Canada), René Andrle (Czech Republic), Sam Bewley (New Zealand), Dirk Demol (Belgium), Oscar Guerrero (Spain), Rene Mandri (Estonia), Dror Pekatch (Israel), Ruben Plaza (Spain) – Israel – Premier Tech Academy.

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Soudal Quick-Step team for 2023 will be presented at Belgian theme park Plopsaland De Panne on January 6

Here’s the team’s news release:

By teaming up with the popular Belgian theme park Plopsaland in De Panne, the Soudal Quick-Step Family Day will give fans of the team a chance to see the 2023 team at first hand, with the whole of the team being presented publicly for the first time, as well as a host of activities for fans, both young and old.

Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl will become Team Soudal Quick-Step in 2023. Sirotti photo

The unique day will have a number of activities taking place throughout the park. There will also be the chance to get your hands on the team merchandise and walk through the Soudal Quick-Step village meeting the team’s sponsors. This as well as having access to the whole of the Plopsaland De Panne Theme Park and its more than 50 attractions throughout the day. The main event will be the official team presentation, which will take place in the Main Square of the park, giving fans a close up look at the whole of the Soudal Quick-Step Team for the first time, with each taking to the stage and then taking part in a parade through the park.

If you plan on being Belgium that day want to see the presentation, here’s the link to buy tickets.

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