Matteo Jorgenson admits he’s still a work in progress after coming out of another solid if not spectacular WorldTour campaign in 2022.
A Tour de France debut and a string of close calls in the hunt for a stage win underscored the U.S. rider’s ever-improving skillset in his third season of lessons learned and steady upward progression.
Speaking to VeloNews, Jorgenson did come away with one important confirmation in 2022 after his first big loop at the Tour — he has no interest in trying to become a grand tour rider.
“All I can really do is think about what I enjoy in racing and this year solidified for me that I like going after stages and being in those breakaway situations,” Jorgenson told VeloNews. “I also saw what I don’t like. Racing for the GC just doesn’t inspire me.”
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Since joining the WorldTour in 2020 with Spain’s Movistar, Jorgenson has been patiently testing the waters, trying his hand in the classics, sprints, breakaways, and GC in smaller races.
An unexpected call-up to race the Tour in 2022 came after injury knocked him out of a planned start in the Giro d’Italia.
A leg injury at Paris-Nice was a “blessing in disguise” for Jorgenson, who saw a forced stop for several weeks to let the injury heel, before a long, steady buildup that included stints at altitude to prepare for his Tour debut.
The 23-year-old roared into the Tour in top shape with the stated goal of helping to pace Enric Mas through the month as well as having the green light to chase breakaways.
He almost struck gold, riding into three winning breakaways and nearly coming away with a win on each occasion in thrilling race days that only reconfirmed his potential.
While in the thick of it across three weeks in France, Jorgenson also saw a brutal, front-row view of what it takes to contend for the yellow jersey.
And while a GC future might be in the cards for shorter stage races in the future, he came away from his romp down the Champs-Élysées certain of one thing.
“Just to see those guys suffering on the wheel at the Tour, it just looks miserable, and it’s not what I want to do,” Jorgenson said in a telephone interview before flying home to Idaho. “For grand tours, I just don’t see myself ever going for GC. Looking forward, I will just double down on stages.
“I can lose time early and double down on those stages that really suit me, because I can do a lot of different things,” he said. “The team still has a project for me for some of the one-week stage races, but not for the grand tours.”
Jorgenson joined Movistar in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic put a wrench into his rookie season. Though a pro win has eluded him so far in his first three seasons in the WorldTour, he’s pressed the accelerator at every opportunity the team gives him.
A top-20 at Milano-Sanremo in 2021 opened up possibilities in the classics, and top-10s at Paris-Nice and Tour de la Provence revealed his consistency across shorter, one-week stage races.
He’s fast in a reduced bunch sprint, steady in the time trials, and he can hold his own in the mountains on a good day.
That multiple skillset is useful in a variety of terrains, and Jorgenson is confident a victory and future success in the WorldTour’s biggest races is a matter of time.
“I am happy with the season, and I took some big steps forward,” Jorgenson said of 2022. “Every year I make similar improvements, so that’s good. I missed the victory, and that was the big goal of the year. I did get to do the Tour, and I saw my best there, and I am very happy with that.
“Getting close to a win, all it does if fuel the fire,” he said of 2022. “I can only take a positive out of that. I have more years where I can improve. I was there consistently from February to October. That’s only good for the future.”
After trekking in Corsica, Jorgenson’s off-season sees him back home in Idaho to reconnect with family and friends before returning to Spain in December for a Team Movistar pre-season training camp.
Then it’s full gas in 2023.