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Now in his fourth year as a professional, the 23-year-old Jorgenson finally notched up his first professional victory with a determined ride on stage 3 of the Tour of Oman atop Jabal Haat. He went on to fight back a determined Mauri Vansevenant (Soudal Quick-Step) to claim the title, the first of his young career.
After riding to the win, and the overall race lead Monday, Jorgenson admitted that he’d begun to question whether he would ever be able to do it. His sport director never had those same worries and says it is a was process to get him to the top of the podium.
“No,” Sciandri told VeloNews when asked if he’d ever had doubts about Jorgenson’s capabilities. “We went through a bit of a change a few years ago and we brought onboard nine young riders.
“Some of these young riders have established themselves as good domestiques and some of these guys like Matteo are trying to win. It comes to a point where you do doubt yourself, but we never did. We never doubted Matteo and we put him in the team in good races and this is the result.
“If you don’t train every day with some pros then you don’t learn or you stop learning about adjusting what you eat, adjusting the training, adjusting the rest days, or how you dress for a hot day, or a cold day,” Sciandri said. “You have to go through a bit of this process, but we always supported him and believed in him and tried to help him.”
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Jorgenson made a big step forward in his career progression last season, scoring fourth at the Tour de la Provence and earning himself an entry to his debut Tour de France in the summer.
He put in some strong results during the race, getting into three successful breakaways and coming close to taking a career-defining win. While he didn’t manage to ride away with the win, the experience he gained from getting in those moves has paid dividends in the long run.
“I think the Tour de France puts a massive amount of knowledge into you, especially riding with a team of knowledgeable guys, people who have been doing the Tour and other grand tours for years,” Sciandri said. “This puts a lot of confidence in him. He came out of the Tour with no result, and he had a close call on stage 16 and he came out of that and bounced forward and now here we are in the leader’s jersey of the Tour of Oman.”
Jorgenson is due to make his return to the Tour de France later this year, but first, he’s focused on wrapping up his first-ever GC win at the Tour of Oman. He moved into the race lead following his stage victory, thanks to the bonus seconds he gained and the gap he pulled out on his competitors.
The Movistar man went into the final stage with just five seconds over his nearest competitor, Vansevenant. The pair went toe-to-toe up Jabal Al Akdhar with Vansevenant doing his best to shake off the tall American.
In the end, Vansevenant was able to take the stage victory, but Jorgenson had done enough to take the title by a single second. Expectations of what he can do will rise as he heads back to Europe to continue his racing, but the team is not putting too much pressure on him just yet.
“He’s got a dialed-in program with Paris-Nice, some classics, and the Tour, we’re just going to have to find out,” Sciandri said of Jorgenson’s prospects this season.