Tejay van Garderen has revealed he will take up a sports director role at EF Education-Nippo in 2022.
The American called time on his career in the saddle in June, citing a lack of power in his legs as the reason to retire from race riding.
Van Garderen had a conversation with former EF team-mate and current sports director Matti Breschel, and it led to an opportunity to head down the path to filling the same role.
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“At the Giro, I spoke to Matti Breschel and he was the one telling me, ‘If opportunities come, say yes. You might think you want to take a year off and figure things out but opportunities don’t come very often.’” Van Garderen said. “It all happened really fast. I almost still can’t believe I’m not a bike racer anymore but I’m really excited with the direction everything’s taken.”
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Van Garderen initially had no desire to remain in cycling upon his retirement, but the pull of the sport led to a change of heart.
“When you’re a bike racer, you think, ‘Once I’m done racing I’m just going to put the sport behind me’ and start the next chapter. But when I was facing my own cycling mortality, I realised I’m still not done with the sport," Van Garderen said. "I want to stay involved, I want to stay connected, I want to be with the guys and help in any way I can and if I can’t help with my legs anymore, then I want to help with my mind and my experience. Being a director, that’s the best way to do it.”
The Vuelta a Espana gets underway on Saturday, and Van Garderen will shadow the team during the course of the three weeks.
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