After his EF Education-EasyPost squad made significant upgrades to its roster for 2023, team boss Jonathan Vaughters has acknowledged that they will have higher expectations to meet in the upcoming season.
Olympic champion and former Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz has signed on 2023, instantly becoming the biggest star rider in the team in its 20-year history. With the Ecuadorian’s signature comes raised aspirations, as well as raised standards.
“Everyone understands that expectations are going to be higher,” Vaughters said in a team press release. “The standards are going to be higher because what we are striving for – the goals – are a lot higher.”
“We’re going to take on the top teams in the world to try and win the biggest races in the world. You can feel it in everybody. There is a big change of spirit. It is game on.”
The team scored nine wins during the 2022 season, including Magnus Cort’s stage win at Megève at the Tour de France and Rigoberto Urán’s first Grand Tour stage win in five years at the Vuelta a España.
Through the winter they’ve signed up Carapaz’s former Ineos Grenadiers teammate Andrey Amador, as well as Mikkel Honoré from QuickStep and Stefan De Bod from Astana Qazaqstan. Mid-season signings Andrea Piccolo and Jefferson Cepeda (both from Androni) will also be taking on their first full season with the squad.
EF were among the litany of teams linked with Mark Cavendish at one point last summer, with Vaughters confirming a tentative interest in the sprinter. However, the veteran now looks all but certain to race for Astana this year.
“Each of them brings strengths to our roster that add explosivity and depth,” the team noted about their new signings, noting that Amador will be committed to helping Carapaz while Honoré will lead the team in the spring Classics following the retirement of Sebastian Langeveld.
The team’s 2023 squad is now complete at 30 riders from 21 countries, with notable names on the outgoing list over the winter including Ruben Guerreiro (Movistar) and Michael Valgren, who heads to EF’s Development team as he recovers from injuries sustained in a crash last June.
As ever, the team are among the last of the WorldTour squads to unveil their new jersey, though Amador may have let the new look slip in a now-deleted Instagram post earlier this week.
The Costa Rican shared a shot of himself in EF colours wearing a jersey featuring segments of several shades of pink across the body and sleeves and black trim. It…