EF Education-EasyPost joins forces with ONTO
American junior bike racing team will compete as EF Education-ONTO.
EF Education-EasyPost is proud to announce its support for the ONTO junior program.
Our partnership ensures that the most talented young bike racers in North America can aspire to WorldTour success on a squad that cares for their personal development and health.
Jonathan Vaughters founded our organization back in 2003 so juniors could reach the front echelon of bike racing on a team committed to clean sport. We have since won grand tours and monuments, but some of our proudest achievements remain the successes of the great American bike racers who started their careers with us as juniors—riders like Tejay van Garderen, who went on to win stages of the Giro, Tour de Suisse, and Volta a Catalunya, and is now one of our sports directors.
We realize that the road to the World Tour is becoming ever more competitive. In 2023, our team draws the most talented bike racers from all continents to our roster, while riders are turning pro ever younger. EF Education-ONTO will open opportunities for North America’s brightest cycling prospects to prove themselves on the world stage.
“I hope that this project shows that talented kid in Ohio, or Québec, or Los Angeles, who might have seen the Tour de France on Instagram and decided that they want to be a bike racer, that they can get there if they work hard and commit to it," EF Education-EasyPost founder and CEO Jonathan Vaughters says. "That is how our team got started. We were a junior team first. And ultimately that is the most important thing that we can do. We’re going to be keeping a close eye on North American junior races. Prove yourself there, and EF Education-ONTO could be your shot to learn what it takes to race as a pro and show what you can do against the best in the world.”
"EF Education-ONTO could be your shot to learn what it takes to race as a pro and show what you can do against the best in the world."
ONTO was founded in 2014 in Greenville, South Carolina to develop promising young cyclists in capacity, character, and engagement with the world of sport and beyond. It is supported by donations to Pedalgogy, its 501(c)(3). It has since become one of North America’s most competitive junior outfits. The team’s director Rusty Miller measures its success not just in terms of the victories its riders have achieved in national championships, UCI Nations Cups, or America’s top races, nor by the number of riders from the team who have graduated to the professional ranks. Above all, EF Education-ONTO will forge character.
“Anyone who succeeds in cycling knows about hard work and sacrifice and effort on a level that is beyond 99 percent of people in the world,” Miller says. “A kid who discovers that he may not have the athletic ceiling that would allow him to go to the WorldTour is going to be changed by the experience of learning teamwork and discipline and responsibility, and that to me is just as joyful as sending a golden talent on to fame. Our riders will make marks on the world because they have learned how to work and how to work with others.”
EF Education-ONTO riders will have every opportunity to prove that they can compete with the world’s best on their bikes thanks to the love of the process that the team will instill in them.
“You train, you rest, you travel, you race; that is the process of developing as a bike racer,” Miller says. “If we can instill a love of that process and care for that process, above care for results, then we can create bicycle racers who go deep, deep into the sport and succeed.”
This year’s team is comprised of: Gray Barnett (16), Ashlin Barry (16), Peyton Burckel (16), CJ Burford (18), Miles De Sousa (18), Levi Dykes (18), Enzo Hincapie (15), Ben McConchie (18), and Reilly Oberding (18).
They will now have the resources to compete stateside in America’s most prestigious junior events and make several trips to Europe and Asia to rub elbows with the world’s best. Together, they will learn how to fetch bottles from the team car in fast, technical Italian classics and navigate narrow high-speed descents in races like the Junior Tour of Ireland. They will learn about others and themselves while racing in events like Korea’s Tour de DMZ.
At the end of their journey with EF Education-ONTO, they will be ready for professional life on their bikes—and off them.
Cannondale, POC, Vittoria, and EasyPost will also support the team, and the EF Pro Cycling organization hopes to share more partners in the seasons to come. We are very excited to watch them race toward their dreams.