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ADELAIDE, Australia (VN) — At 20, life is nothing but an open road.
Magnus Sheffield hopes the Tour de France will be a big part of his career in the coming decade.
Whether a debut at the Tour comes in 2023 or another year or two down the road isn’t causing him to lose any sleep.
“The goal this season is to ride my first grand tour, and experience what that is like for three weeks,” Sheffield told VeloNews in an exclusive interview.
“Whether it’s the Tour or the Vuelta a España, either one could fit in quite well.”
- Sheffield hits second overall at Tour of Denmark
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- Sheffield first American winner at Brabantse Pijl
Sheffield barnstormed through his rookie WorldTour season, winning three races and nearly capturing the Tour of Denmark overall, finishing second to Christophe Laporte on time bonuses.
Making his 2023 debut with a bang to finish second Tuesday in the opening prologue at the Santos Tour Down Under, Sheffield is picking up where he left off in his impressive rookie year.
“My first season with the team what I really wanted to do was to try a lot of different races, one-day races, one-week stage races,” Sheffield said. “I am super excited about how last year went. One of the big goals this year is to race a grand tour.”
For his sophomore season in the WorldTour, the Ineos Grenadiers phenomenon is putting the spring classics front and center in the first part of the season.
A winner at Brabantse Pijl in 2022 along with stage wins at the Ruta del Sol and the Tour of Denmark, Sheffield will make an even stronger push across the northern classics.
From opening weekend in late February and Strade Bianche all the way through Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Sheffield will be busy.
“One thing I still haven’t been able to do is race in Italy. I never raced in Italy as a junior or U23, but hoping to be there for Strade Bianche,” Sheffield said.
“A big goal of mine was to try to win in my first year, but I had signed for three years, so the team had a lot of confidence in me. I was able to progress quite quickly, but I feel like I didn’t skip any steps along the way.
“I feel like I can time trial quite well, and that’s an important skill for an all-rounder, especially if you want to contend in GC.”
A grand tour debut and unfinished business at the worlds
After getting a bit of a taste of everything in 2022, Sheffield will widen his experiences and sharpen his targets even more in 2023.
A grand tour start and a return to the world championships will also be major goals.
He crashed last year at Wollongong while riding strong in the time trial, and hopes to improve on that in Glasgow this summer.
Nice way to kick off the season. Looking forward to the rest of the week.🇦🇺 https://t.co/mBvzmTjKhq
— Magnus Sheffield (@MagnusSheffield) January 17, 2023
An August date for the worlds is putting a kink into the calendar a bit, and Sheffield said he and his coaches are still working on the ideal racing schedule for 2023.
“There is so much I want to do in my career,” Sheffield said during a chat Monday evening in Adelaide.
“Early on in my career I’d like to focus on the classics and the one-week stage races, but given my time trialing abilities, I feel like I can hold on to the peloton in some of the longer climbs, so we will see how I can do during three weeks,” he said.
“Because the classics are a big focus in my program it’s a bit more difficult with the Giro. With the worlds in August, there are all these races I want to do, but you cannot do everything. I am hoping that I will have a long enough career that I can do all of them.
“I have to lean more on the management on what races suit me best and what the team objectives are,” Sheffield said. “This is a winning team. There is no questioning that.”
Sheffield is determined to keep contributing his “W’s” to the team’s tally in 2023.
After three big wins in his rookie season, Sheffield is stepping up both expectations and quality in 2023.
At 20, the sky is the limit.