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Mark Padun joins EF Education-Nippo

Ukrainian all-rounder is latest signing for EF Education-Nippo, which is bullish on his chances for grand tour success in the future.

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Mark Padun, the 25-year-old Ukrainian who burst onto the scene in 2021, is bound for EF Education-Nippo.

Padun won back-to-back stages at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June with Bahrain-Victorious, and later raced the Vuelta a España and finished third at the Vuelta a Burgos.

“I see him as one of the biggest talents in modern cycling right now,” said team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He’s been an extremely inconsistent talent, but on his good days, he’s proven that he’s one of the very best climbers in the world. It’s our job to figure out how to get him a few more of those good days and work on the consistency a little bit.”

Padun, who was forced to leave his home in Ukrainian as a teenager as tensions heated up with Russia, turned pro in 2018 with Bahrain-Victorious. With six pro wins, three of them came in his breakout 2021 season.

“I want to become a rider for grand tours,” Padun said. “I believe that I can do it because all of the people who have been working with me have told me that I have talent. I understand that I have to improve to meet this goal so I’m still working on this but I believe it is possible.

“After one week or 10 days, I still enjoy racing,” Padun said in a team release. “It’s not that I don’t like one day races but I like stage races much better. You can always try to be there battling for a result. I’m not a pure climber. I’m quite a heavy guy but most of my success I obtained by climbing.”

Vaughers said he’s been watching Padun for awhile.

“He’s been on my radar for a very long time,” Vaughters said. “He’s just an incredibly talented climber. He also has a nose for finding the right breakaway and then he seems quite resistant once he’s in the breakaway. When you’re out there for four, five, six hours in the breakaway, just because you’re a good climber doesn’t mean that you can handle sitting out there in the wind that long. He seems to be good at both. He seems to be able to climb really well and be able to plug along.”

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