In nudging his front wheel to the line a fraction of a second ahead of a mistakenly-celebrating Ilan Van Wilder, Magnus Cort notched a symbolic victory for EF Education-EasyPost at the Volta ao Algarve: number nine of the year.
In barely a month of racing, they have matched their win total from the whole of 2022.
After Alberto Bettiol’s prologue victory at the Tour Down Under, Marijn van den Berg got the ball rolling in Europe at Challenge Mallorca before Neilson Powless took out the GP Marseillaise and Etoile de Bessèges. All the while, national titles have rained down, from Esteban Chaves in Colombia, Richard Carapaz and Jonathan Caicdeo in Ecuador, and Stefan de Bod in South Africa.
As a result, the team who flirted with relegation from the WorldTour last year now sit fifth in the UCI rankings, before Cort’s win has been taken into account.
What makes the difference between victory and defeat in professional cycling is often difficult to identify but bike technology and equipment choices appear to be becoming more important than ever.
“I don’t know. We got new bikes, new wheels, new tyres… it’s just going well,” Cort said when discussing the team’s rich vein of form with Cyclingnews atop the Alto da Foia.
EF Education-EasyPost are riding new and as-yet unreleased bikes from Cannondale, the highly-anticipated latest model in their SuperSix range.
Cort was riding the new SuperSix Evo 4 model for his stage win in Algarve, complete with the new Lab71 branding that the US company says marks its no-expense-spared, top-of-the-range products.
He confirmed that the bike is aerodynamically enhanced compared to the old SuperSix, but still weighs in similarly, thanks to a higher modulus carbon.
The Dane rode Cannondale’s dedicated SystemSix aero bike for most of last season but now appears to have found his aero advantages at a lighter weight, particularly useful when going for victory on a gradual 7.5km climb.
“It definitely feels faster, the bike,” Cort said.
“I was using the aero bike last year so for me it’s less of a change, but I saved some weight instead. And a lot of the other guys now have a faster bike at the same weight.”
As well as the new bike, Cort was also running as-yet unreleased tyres, a tubeless version of a new offering from Vittoria, set to be named the Corsa Pro.
He also claimed to be using new wheels compared to 2022, which Cyclingnews believes to be the Vision Metron 45 SL, set up tubeless.
“We have the same sponsors but they just came…
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