Archie Ryan and Jardi Christiaan van der Lee join EF Education-EasyPost
The two talents are excited to progress in the WorldTour with our team
Archie Ryan and Jardi Christiaan van der Lee are next in the wave of exciting talents that will carry EF Education-EasyPost into the future.
The two young racers signed their first professional contracts with our team and can’t wait to get started in the WorldTour in 2024.
Archie Ryan has won stages at the Ronde de l'Isard and finished fourth on GC at the Tour de l’Avenir. Although he struggled with a knee injury earlier this season, the 21-year-old Irishman is back to full health and is raring to prove that he has got what it takes to go up against the best climbers in the world. He’s already won a mountain stage against WorldTour competition at the Tour de Slovaquie, when he rode that race for a try-out last year with Jumbo-Visma. That gives him a lot of confidence. Archie has wanted to race for our team ever since he started watching bike racing as an 11-year-old in Wicklow, south of Dublin. Now he is ready to show that he belongs in the WorldTour.
“It really is a dream to be able to join EF Education-EasyPost,” Archie says. “It has always been my favorite team. I remember watching all of Dan Martin’s really good results with the team, back in the day when I was a kid, so it really is a dream to be doing this. If you told 11-year-old or 12-year-old Archie that he would be joining this team when he was older, he would be over the moon.”
In his first year as a pro, Archie’s first aim is to get some consistent racing into his legs and contribute to the team’s efforts wherever and whenever he can. Down the road, he knows that he will get his own chances. He wants to follow the path set out by his good friend Ben Healy.
“Ben is not just a mate, but he is an inspiration to young riders like myself,” Archie says. “It has been really cool to see him develop on this pathway with the team, and that would be the goal to try and follow his footsteps. I know him from racing on the Irish team as juniors, and since then we have been good friends. We have the same friend group in Ireland and now live in Girona. It is pretty cool to be joining a team where I already know people and have some friends. Everyone is class here. So it is really exciting to follow him, and be joining the team.”
EF Education-EasyPost founder and CEO Jonathan Vaughters is excited too. He is looking forward to helping Archie develop as a racer.
“Archie is a proven winner on mountain stages,” Vaughters says. “He is punchy and explosive, a pure climber. He accelerates incredibly well and his five-minute power is great. He is someone who I view as a climber in the classical cycling sense of the word.”
So is Jardi Christiaan van der Lee. The young Dutchman has taken an unconventional route to get to the front echelon in cycling. Right now, he is one of the top-ranked online racers in the world. But Jardi has been racing on the road since he was eight and made a steady progression through the Netherlands’ amateur ranks, where he learned to ride in aggressive, chaotic pelotons on his country’s windswept flatlands. But Jardi was born to race up mountains. When his club folded during COVID and he had to get a day job because road racing had been canceled, he turned to e-racing. Soon, his power-to-weight saw him ranked among the very best in the world. Jardi decided to keep going and found a spot to race on the road with another Dutch club. This year, he made a breakthrough when he won one of his country’s hardest amateur races in Amstel Gold country and earned the chance to race a Nations Cup in Poland with his national team. In his first showing against the best U23 climbers in the world, Jardi finished fourth. We invited him to our lab and the numbers he produced impressed our sports scientists.
“Jardi burned up the ergometer in the testing center we use,” says Jonathan Vaughters. “He had raced really well as a junior and then had to stop racing and go get a job to support himself. Now, he has been competitive in some of the top U23 races and produced some of the highest values that we have ever tested. That made us think it was worth taking the risk on him, even though he does not race for a Continental team or a development team, but is racing for a Dutch club. He handles a bike really well, and he's got massive power. We’re just going to have to work with him to help him understand how the races work, tactically, in the pro ranks.”
Jardi is eager to learn. He wants to keep progressing and find out where his limits lie.
“This is a dream that has become true,” he says. “ I started thinking when I was seven or eight that I wanted to become a pro cyclist. For a long time, it was unbelievable, and now it is true. In the last months, all of the work I’ve done has started to pay off. The years before, every year I raised my performance a little higher. The first years were slow in terms of the steps I made. In the last year, I was able to train more and make a big step. I don’t know what I can expect from the future. I will try to become better and better and not go for too much at one time. When I can do well in the uphill races, go for wins in those races or for another teammates’ win, then I will be really proud of myself.”
Steady progression leads to big breakthroughs. That is the heart of our team’s philosophy for developing young talent. Over the coming years, Archie and Jardi will each ride programs that will give them chances to succeed in harder and harder races, as Ben Healy has done over the past few years. They are both ready to take on the WorldTour. We are excited that they are going to do so with us.
Watch out for announcements about more exciting signings soon.