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Matteo Jorgenson: ‘Paris-Nice is a goal for me’

Movistar’s American has a free role at the Tour de la Provence, but has his sights set on March’s ‘Race to the Sun.’

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BERRE L’ÉTANG, France (VN) – Eighth overall in the 2021 edition of Paris-Nice, 22-year-old Californian Matteo Jorgenson is set to be given a leader’s role by his Movistar team in next month’s “Race to the Sun” and is also hoping to be given a second shot at the Giro d’Italia, where he made his Grand Tour debut last season.

Speaking soon after finishing his opening day time trial at the Tour de la Provence, where he finished 16th, 24 seconds behind the winner, Ineos’s world TT champion Filippo Ganna, Jorgenson revealed that Paris-Nice will be his first primary objective of this season.

“It’s definitely a goal,” he told VeloNews. “I’ve had a bit of a slower winter than last year, when I came out swinging pretty hard. This winter, I had COVID and some other problems, so I’m a little bit slower.

“But right after this race, I’ll do some harder prep with Paris-Nice very much in mind. I like the race a lot. The team can see that and they’ll give me an opportunity. I’d like to try to do well there again,” he said.

The tall, red-haired American is in his third season with Movistar, and the mutual understanding that has developed between rider and team is underlined by the free role Jorgenson has been given for the four-day Provence race, where he finished 14th overall last year.

“This race is just about building up, but I think I’m going to try to do a GC ride on my own,” he explained.

“The team isn’t gonna ride for me – they’re riding for Iván Sosa. But I think I’ll try to do my own GC ride. They’re letting me have some freedom, so we’ll see how that last stage treats a guy like me.”

That final stage finishes at the Montagne de Lure ski resort that’s new to the Tour de la Provence but featured in Paris-Nice in 2009 and 2013, when the winners were Alberto Contador and Richie Porte, respectively.

“I watched the two times they did it in Paris-Nice just this last week. I think it looks pretty steady,” said Jorgenson. “I don’t think it’s as hard as the climb to Chalet Reynard on Mont Ventoux that we did in this race last year. It’s longer, but not quite as steep. There’ll be a draft on the wheel, so it should be OK.”

The American says that he’s not sure yet what Movistar’s plans are for this year’s Grand Tours.

“Hopefully, I’ll do a Grand Tour this year and it’ll probably be the Giro I would think, so that’ll be exciting. If that pans out, I also hope I can come into it a bit less tired than last year and do a little bit better,” he explained. That fatigue meant that the American failed to break into the top 30 on the Giro as he finished 98th in his first three-week tour.

Reflecting overall on his two seasons with Movistar, with whom he has a contract through to the end of 2023, Jorgenson was fulsome in his praise.

“They’ve been really, really good. I’ve been honestly super impressed with the team. They’ve been way better than I expected in terms of how they’ve treated me and how they’ve attempted to develop me,” he said.

“It’s honestly been a huge privilege to be on the team and they’ve given me way more than I ever could have expected. When I came into the team I didn’t even have the confidence to be a professional. I didn’t think I was even worthy of that, but Movistar has given me more confidence and opportunities. It’s been amazing.”

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.