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Tour de France

Tour de France debut a confirming experience for Matteo Jorgenson

The 23-year-old American is bumped and bruised after a crash on stage 3 but is good to continue racing.

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CALAIS, France (VN) — Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) says that making his Tour de France debut has been a “confirming” experience for him as a rider.

Jorgenson was not due to ride the Tour de France this season but a torn hamstring in mid-March forced him to skip the Giro d’Italia and opened the door for a potential ride this July.

A strong ride at the Critérium du Dauphiné sealed the deal for the American, who turned 23 on the opening day of the race, and he’s now three days in at his first Tour de France.

“It feels good. It’s confirming, I would say, you’ve made it to the highest level, there’s nothing more to see,” Jorgenson told VeloNews.

“I’ve always kind of looked at pro teams and seen how you have to sacrifice a couple of months of your life for the Tour and train hard and living through the whole thing was pretty special. I really enjoyed the process of going to the training camp, staying super focused on one event and now I’m here so it’s time to enjoy it.”

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Jorgenson’s Tour de France got off to a pleasingly uneventful start, but it hit a bump in the road on the third day with a crash inside the final 10 kilometers of the stage to Sønderborg. Thankfully, he escaped without any broken bones, though he did have to receive stitches to his right arm.

Aside from the crash on stage 3, Jorgenson has been soaking in the good parts of the Tour de France, not least the crowds out on the roadside in Denmark. It has been an eye-opening experience for him.

“It was ridiculous with the amount of people. As many times as I’ve watched the Tour and I know how many people can be there, to do it in person is completely different. It was really wild,” he said.

“They’re super crazy about cycling here. They told us on the first day that two thirds of Denmark watch the Tour, which is ridiculous. Coming from the US, where I don’t think one percent watches, it is pretty cool.”

Jorgenson is one of seven riders from the USA racing in this year’s Tour de France, the most since 2014. He joins the likes of Kevin Vermaerke, Quinn Simmons, and Joe Dombrowski as Tour debutants.

“There are seven guys here and all of them are super strong so it’s really great to see. I think that the US is really making steps forward,” Jorgenson said.

Though things are looking pretty rosy in terms of Americans in the WorldTour, Jorgenson believes that more work needs to be done to ensure that there is another strong crop of riders coming in behind them.

“It’s hard to say because all of us are here now because of the work that went on before with the national team and all of the development programs that used to be there but are faltering now. So it’s really good for the moment and we have a lot of guys here, but for the moment we need to keep working on those systems,” he said.

While Jorgenson is happy to see his compatriots doing well, he’s at the Tour de France to play an important role for his Spanish Movistar team.

“We’re here with Enric Mas, he’s our leader and we really want to keep him safe and avoid all the chaos in the first week. Once we get into his terrain in the mountains we can start having a bit more fun,” Jorgenson said.