“EF seems like a group that has a passion for the sport and performance, so I’m looking forward to being a part of that,” said Barta in the EF Pro Cycling announcement.
The 24-year-old from Boise, Idaho had been with the CCC Team for the 2019-20 seasons. However, with the knowledge that the team was shuttering after the current season, he was left scrambling for a pro contract when he started this year’s edition of the Vuelta a España.
And job security must have been an excellent motivator for him: Barta uncorked an amazing performance in the 33.7km time trial on stage 13. He topped the early best time and enjoyed a nice stint in the Vuelta’s “hot seat,” only to be overturned by eventual winner Primož Roglič, who bested Barta by just one second.
Barta is another graduate of the highly successful Hagens Berman Axeon team, on which he competed from 2015 through 2018. He rejoins former teammates Ruben Guerreiro, Neilson Powless, and Logan Owen all of whom raced under the direction of Axel Merckx, and now all of whom are at EF Pro Cycling.
Recognizing the experienced riders on the American-based squad, Barta called out Tejay van Garderen as a rider he’s long admired.
“He’s a rider I’ve always looked up to. I’m really looking forward to learning from him,” said Barta.
The 2013 Tour of California winner reciprocated, saying, “He has lots of talent and I hope I can help him reach his full potential. He will make an awesome addition to the team.”
"Will Barta has lots of talent and will make an awesome addition to the team.” – Tejay van Garderen
Couldn't agree more, Tejay. Excited to see what 2021 brings for Will. Get to know our newest teammate: https://t.co/IeeLe08pn2
— EF Pro Cycling (@EFprocycling) November 24, 2020
While Barta is a proven time trial specialist, he’s also shown that he’s got the chops for one-day races, finishing fourth at the 2017 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “It always favored tough riders and I found that [race was] exciting. It really lived up to my expectations as a race,” he said.
EF Pro Cycling has recently bolstered its lineup, adding Michael Valgeren, and confirming a recently recommitted Lachlan Morton. With GC stars Rigoberto Urán and Hugh Carthy, the team has built a competitive GC squad that is looking for grand tour stage wins and also overall podium performances.