Glorious return to cyclocross for Van Empel
Fem van Empel has marked her return to the field with a victory. The 21-year-old...
Barely 21 and on the back of a Giro Nextgen final victory and his first professional win, Johannes Staune-Mittet will move from the Jumbo-Visma development team to the WorldTour squad this winter. The Norwegian has felt very comfortable in the development squad for three seasons.
The Lillehammer-born rider is straightforward when asked to describe his time as a U23 rider. "The past three seasons have been fantastic. The time has flown by, not least because of all the great people in the team. There is literally nobody I don't get on with."
"I had a hard time at the beginning", Staune-Mittet admits. "I wasn't sure I was in the right place as a cyclist. My second year as a junior was challenging. In the end I was very grateful for the chance Jumbo-Visma gave me. I grabbed it with both hands."
Staune-Mittet made great strides during his U23 phase. This earned him an early contract with the WorldTour team. "I am thrilled with my development. I cannot thank Robbert de Groot enough. He has helped me take steps both physically and mentally. Together, we have found a good balance. Robert Wagner and Sierk Jan de Haan also helped me. With them as sports directors, we had the best possible guidance during the races."
"The Babygiro was my highlight"
The Scandinavian comes from a sporting family. His brother, four years his senior, was also active in the peloton. "The biggest step I took was on a mental level. I know better than anyone that good preparation is half the battle. It gives me more peace of mind in the races, knowing that I have prepared as well as I can. Thanks to the steps I have taken, I have been able to win several races", Staune-Mittet says.
The rider does not have to think long about his sporting highlights. "The Giro NextGen was my highlight. I had a fantastic week there with the team. I enjoyed every day, both on and off the bike. The team spirit was incredible and took us to great heights. Part of the success is down to the chemistry. The friendship I have with the guys off the bike is special. I am convinced that this also brings results", Staune-Mittet explains.
"We work in a very professional way", the upcoming neo-pro says about the Development Team. "I realise how good we have it in the team, and I feel privileged. The coaching staff were able to read me very well as a rider. For example, they could see when I needed to slow down and rest. There's a good plan behind everyone's development. Today, I can stay calm. That is another lesson I have learnt here in recent years."
"I wanted to give something back to the team"
A crash in the Tour de l'Avenir brought an early end to the Norwegian's season. "It was not a serious injury, but we decided to call it quits. The U23 version of the Tour of Lombardy and the Coppa Citta di San Daniele would be my last races with the Development Team. Although I couldn't take part in these races, I asked if I could still go to Italy, if only to hand out bottles. I wanted to give something back to the team. I wanted to finish what we started together a few years ago. These people are passionate about what they do. That enthusiasm is very infectious."
On the eve of his entry into the professional peloton, the rider is motivated. "I can't wait to start the new season. The races we did together with the WorldTour riders last season already tasted like more", says Staune-Mittet, referring to his stage win at the Czech Tour. "Hopefully, we can have a lot more success in the coming years. In any case, I feel more than ready for the step up, not least because of the professional support."