Valgren interview and report cards for NTT and EF Pro Cycling
In the latest episode of the Cyclingnews podcast, brought to you by Sportful and Pinarello, we speak to Michael Valgren about his 2020 season, his time at NTT Pro Cycling and his move to EF Pro Cycling ahead of next year’s campaign.
The Danish rider spent two years on the African team and never quite managed to replicate the 2018 form that saw him win Amstel Gold Race but he talks about his motivation, why things didn’t work out and how he will fit into EF Pro Cycling’s roster.
As well as hearing from Valgren, we also start our yearly report card analysis of the WorldTour teams and as Valgren features – and because there’s no real method – we start by taking a look at both NTT and EF.
NTT actually started the season incredibly well. They came into 2020 with arguably one of the weakest rosters of the WorldTour teams but they won six races by the time Paris-Nice concluded. They dominated a number of online races during lockdown but once racing resumed they struggled. Giacomo Nizzolo won the European Championships and Ben O’Connor took a fine stage in the Giro d’Italia but there was very little for them to celebrate.
They ended the year with eight wins but the season was really dominated by sponsorship issues and once more the underperformance of several key riders. Sponsorship issues created uncertainty and tension between the management before Assos stepped in to help the team going forward. We analyze the season for NTT, before Procycling’s editor Edward Picking – a former teacher no less – provides the team with a report card grade.
Then we head to EF, and the American team that went from 17 wins in 2019 to 17 wins this year. There was no Monument win this time around but the team were aggressive in every format of racing – they won stages in all three Grand Tours and finished on the podium in the Vuelta a España. They also won the Critérium du Dauphiné with one of the best days of racing we saw all year, and even if you strip out the wins they took outside of the WorldTour – for example, the wins in Colombia – they were impressive. Our presenters look back on the year for the team before Mr Pickering provides his end of season grade.
The Cyclingnews Podcast is brought to you by Sportful and Pinarello.
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