Germany’s Jason Osborne has swapped the boat for the saddle after joining Deceuninck–QuickStep as a stagiaire – just weeks after winning rowing silver at Tokyo 2020. And it’s got Eurosport expert Bradley Wiggins rather excited.
Osborne arrives in cycling with some serious pedigree, having won the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships on Zwift in December last year before clinching his lightweight double sculls medal in Japan.
The 27-year-old, who also boasts a world title in the lightweight single sculls, is following the reverse path of Wiggins, who had a short-lived rowing adventure after claiming eight Olympic medals on the bike.
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And although Wiggins failed to make an Olympic squad in two sports, it has not stopped him backing Osborne to do "something incredible" on the road.
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“It’s a very difficult thing to do,” he said on The Breakaway after Stage 16 at La Vuelta.
“But physiologically there are a lot of similarities between the two [sports] and rowers are extreme, incredible athletes.
“They do bring a lot of weight with them, muscular weight. But there’s no doubt about it, the application of training they have to do for rowing, if he can apply himself to cycling… I think he will be very, very good.
“They’ve signed him for a reason. Patrick [Lefevere, Deceuninck team boss] isn’t stupid. And this guy has clearly got something that’s impressed them. And the application and mindset he brings from rowing to cycling will mean he surprises a few people."
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Britain's Rebecca Romero has won Olympic medals in both sports. After taking silver in the quad sculls at Athens 2004 she retired with a persistent back complaint, only to discover a talent on the bike and win gold in the individual pursuit at Beijing 2008.
New Zealand’s Hamish Bond also swapped rowing for cycling ahead of Tokyo 2020 after twice striking gold in the coxless pair and winning time trial bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. However, he later abandoned his mission and returned to the water, winning a third Olympic gold in the men’s eight in Japan this summer.
“If you can apply the engine you have in rowing and the physical capabilities it takes to move a boat at that speed and the power you produce… to cycling, minus obviously the weight and getting down to extreme levels of low body fat… then he’s got the physical capabilities and the engine to do something incredible,” added Wiggins.
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