Matteo Jorgenson on maiden GC win: ‘You have no idea how good this feels’
American seals overall Tour of Oman victory by a single second.
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JABAL AL AKHDHAR, Oman (VN) — Matteo Jorgenson had an agonizing wait to confirm his career-first stage race win, but the Movistar rider did it by just one second.
Jorgenson went into the final stage of the Tour of Oman to Jabal Al Akhdhar only 5 seconds ahead of Mauri Vansevenant (Soudal-Quick-Step). All he had to do to take the win was hold onto the wheels of the Belgian, which he did, taking second on the stage and keeping as close to Vansevenant as he could.
However, he didn’t immediately know if he had taken the overall title as a gap as little of a second could have handed his rival the victory.
After waiting for what felt like an eternity, Jorgenson was finally able to embrace his team and celebrate a win that seemed as though it was a long time coming.
“You have no idea. This is super special. Two days ago I got my first professional win and now to take my first GC at a race like this where the previous winners are crazy. I’m just so happy,” Jorgenson said, sitting on the trunk of his team’s car.
“Once I won the other day, I knew I was one of the strongest guys here so this became a goal. My goal for this season was to win one race and it has been the last two years and now we’ve just won two. You have no idea how good it feels.”
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Vansevenant didn’t give Jorgenson an easy time and he pushed him all the way to the finish line on Jabal Al Akhdhar. The Belgian put in several digs off the front of what had become a two-man group going into the final four kilometers.
In the end, only Jorgenson was able to stay with him but the Movistar rider didn’t have the legs to take him in the sprint for the line.
“The day was relatively easy, it was just the heat that was the issue. I woke up confident this morning, but I was a little bit nervous. I’m a big guy and this kind of climb tests my limits. Five or six kilometers at 12 percent is hard for me so I just about making sure I stayed efficient on the climb,” he said.
“Mauri surprised me a lot, I’ve raced with him a bunch, I don’t know him so well, but he’s in good form, we both were here surprisingly I think, he worried me on this last climb,” he said. “He went once, I saw he was strong, and in the sprint, the other day I got him, but he was coming back in the last couple of metres. Supergood win, congratulations to him. I was telling myself, just go as hard as you can, there’s a certain point where there’s so much lactate you couldn’t go any harder, it was a 20-minute effort.”
Jorgenson’s win makes him the first American to claim the overall title at the Tour of Oman after Tejay van Garderen twice finished runner-up at the race.
“For sure, that’s super special, I didn’t even know that, Tejay got second? Twice, that’s awesome. I’ll have to send him a message and rub it in his face,” Jorgenson joked.
It is also the second win for Movistar in the Middle East this month after Ruben Guerreiro took the overall victory at the Saudi Tour at the start of February.
Movistar came close to being relegated at the end of last season but scored just enough points to keep their WorldTour license for another three years. Jorgenson believes that the threat of dropping down to the ProTour has given the squad the impetus it needed to take more wins.
“To be honest with you, the whole points situation gave us a kick in the arse, it gave us the push we needed to kind of just change things and reassess on how we were doing things, are we doing this correctly, are we doing this correctly, where are we losing points where are we losing time, and it was a really good positive thing for the team in the end. We had a ton of stress last year, it sucked while it lasted but now looking back we’ve come out of it a stronger team,” Jorgenson said.
GC + points + best young rider = full house for @MatteoJorg 🤗🇴🇲 @tourofoman
📸 @GettySport pic.twitter.com/LvFGcGIuzJ
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) February 15, 2023
Jorgenson came into the season just hoping to take his first professional victory. Not only has he done that but he wrapped up his first general classification success.
With that particular monkey off his back and some good form to take with him back to Europe, where some of his major season goals lie, Jorgenson is keen to see what he can do.
“I’m in really good shape in February so we’re just going to have to reassess the situation. One of my biggest goals of the season is to perform at Paris-Nice. It’s one of my favorite races of all time and it’s one of the races I watched as a kid. I’m excited to bring this form there,” he said.