What a year it’s been
A look back at our first season in the WorldTour
In 2022, EF Education-TIBCO-SVB brought together 14 riders from six countries. The team’s goals may have seemed humble — build camaraderie and cohesion among the riders and staff, have some promising results — but they were undeniably challenging given that this would be the team’s first season in the WorldTour.
Now that it’s late October and the race bikes have been washed and put away for the off season, let’s take stock of the year. Thirteen wins. Six additional podiums. Another eight top 10s. The results sheet certainly shows that 2022 was a strong season for the squad. The depth of the relationships you’ll find between the riders off the bike is further proof of the camaraderie and respect that has grown within the organization.
“When I started the season with the team at camp, I had no idea what the season would be like,” Magdeleine Vallieres Mill says of her first professional season. “I didn’t expect the season to be like this. The team grew to be so strong by the end of the season, with Veronica finishing fifth at the Tour de Romandie, a WorldTour race. I could tell at the February camp that the riders were going to be really, really strong but I had no idea that we’d reach this level so soon.”
Veronica Ewers had a breakout season in which she took a stage win at Elsy Jacobs and at the Navarra Women’s Elite Classic and finished ninth overall at the revived Tour de France Femmes. The American agrees that the team’s growth exceeded her expectations, which in turn gave her the strength and motivation to surpass her own expectations for herself.
“We improved leaps and bounds from the beginning of this year. I was lucky to do the last race of the season with the team at the Tour de Romandie and most of the stages we were all racing next to each other and with each other throughout the race. That was a night and day difference from the beginning of the season when we all were kind of scattered in the bunch. There are moments when you’re absolutely suffering and you think I don't think I can continue but then you think, ‘Well, I’m not going to let my team down, I’m not going to give up for a teammate.’ You give absolutely everything you possibly can. Not only for yourself but also for your teammates. I really had no idea that I would have the results that I ended up having at the end of the year. I definitely could not have done that without my teammates.”
There were, inevitably, hiccups along the way. Covid hit the team hard, forcing sports directors to redesign race rosters at the last minute. Crashes and injuries interrupted momentum. And of course, some days just didn’t go our way. But coping with adversity is an opportunity for growth.
“Bringing a new group together always comes with challenges, and I think overcoming those will strengthen our team for future seasons,” says Krista Doebel-Hickok, who is no stranger to adversity herself. Though her season ended prematurely with a broken collarbone after a crash at the Vuelta a España, the doctors are pleased with her surgery and subsequent recovery, and Krista has been cleared to resume her normal activities.
With the 2023 team camp just a few weeks away, our riders are busy enjoying the off season, but are already thinking about next year.
As Krista said simply, “I am driven and ready to take on the 2023 season.”