Avoiding the rat race: How EF-Nippo are punching above their weight

PALERMO ITALY OCTOBER 01 Lachlan Morton of Australia and Team EF Pro Cycling EF Pro Cycling special Rapha x Palace Skateboards Detail view during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Team Presentation in Archaeological Park of Segesta in Palermo City Temple of Segesta girodiitalia Giro on October 01 2020 in Palermo Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
The team's Palace jersey which was unveiled ahead of the Giro d'Italia in 2020 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Last year was a tumultuous season for everyone involved in professional cycling. The racing scene was decimated due to COVID-19 restrictions, while teams struggled to give their backers any return on investment until the late summer. That meant that the fragility of the teams’ financial foundations were tested to the extreme, with sponsors walking away, riders left unpaid and several squads either folding or teetering on the edge.

For EF Education-Nippo, as they are named in 2021, last season was a tough pill to swallow, just as it was for everyone else. However, the American squad came away with some of their best results in years. They also attracted new sponsors and made headlines through a combination of clever marketing and their continued shift towards gravel and other less traditional areas of the sport.

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.