Marijn van den Berg signs with EF
“He’s a new type of sprinter”
Marijn van den Berg, a double stage winner at the 2021 Tour de l’Avenir, will be joining EF Education-NIPPO in 2022.
This season has been a time of change and growth for van den Berg. Not only did he change teams, he started working with a new trainer and moved from his native Holland to France. “This year I made a big step moving to France. That was pretty big for me. It helped me grow up having to live on my own, cook for myself, do everything for myself. I think that’s a good thing.”
Despite all of these changes, 2021 has been van den Berg’s strongest season yet. He claimed a pair of stage wins at both the Tour de l’Avenir and Orlen Nations Grand Prix, as well as the overall wins at Orlen Nations Grand Prix and GP Adria Mobil, placed third at Paris-Tour Espoirs, and took a stage victory at Alpes Isère Tour. Given these results, he could certainly continue to race at the continental level with aplomb, yet he has decided this is the time to transition to the WorldTour. “I think this is the right moment for me to make the step to the pros and not really before. Now I’m a little bit more mature, not only in the races but also personally. I’m ready for the WorldTour.”
The Dutch rider considers himself to be an all-rounder with a dangerous kick. “When it’s a harder stage, a little bit hilly or when it’s a smaller group and then a sprint finish, I think that’s the best. I hope next year to improve my sprint a bit more and I also hope to get stronger for the more difficult stages with more hills.”
Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters believes it’s van den Berg’s sprint that makes him so lethal and appealing. “He’s a sprinter but he’s actually a very strong sprinter,” Vaughters says. “He’s really good at team time trials - his team won the team time trial at the Tour de l’Avenir - and he climbs very well. He’s not limited to being just a sprinter so he fits into that model of winning races in a non-sequitur way. He can win the sprint out of the breakaway, he can win the sprint out of a group of 40 or 50 that gets selected on a medium mountain day. That’s much more attractive to me than a pure sprinter. Especially with the way cycling is moving, which is more and more of the courses are becoming hillier and harder and race promoters are increasing the number of vertical meters climbed in every race, I think he’s the new type of sprinter that we’re looking for on this team, productive even when the race is hard all day long.”
Van den Berg aims to continue this growth in the upcoming season. “I hope to get stronger like I’ve done every year. Every year, I’ve taken a step and gotten a little bit better, so if I can take another step next year, I hope that will get me to the right level for the WorldTour.”
The 22-year-old says that seeing his progress only encourages him to push a little harder to see what else he can achieve. “When you see that you can do better and then you race and you see that you are one of the best at your level, that feeling of ‘I am doing well’ really motivates me. I think next year I will already be really motivated just because I’m on EF Education-NIPPO.”
He explains why signing with EF is the right move for him. “The trust that they gave me that I may get a chance for myself in some races and getting to develop as a good rider is super exciting. That’s why EF is the best option for me.”
Van den Berg is approaching 2022 with optimism and humility. “I don’t expect that I will win a stage in every race that I do. I can be happy if I have a few good results like a top ten or top five somewhere. I’m really curious where I stand in the WorldTour peloton.”
“I can’t wait to be on the team for next year,” van den Berg says. “I’m super happy that I found a team like EF for the coming season. I’m really happy about it!”
We can’t wait either. Welcome to the team!