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The 2022 Tour de France starts Friday. There will be a Boise cyclist in the peloton

·3 min read
Movistar Team

Matteo Jorgenson’s cycling career began on the streets of Idaho’s capital city, with the Boise Young Rider Development Squad.

The journey has taken him across Europe and now to the sport’s biggest stage.

The Boise High graduate was selected as one of Movistar Team’s eight riders for the Tour de France, which begins Friday with an individual time trial in Copenhagen, Denmark. Jorgenson will be riding in support of Movistar leader and yellow jersey contender Enric Mas.

“It’s a huge step for me to be selected for the Tour,” Jorgenson told the Idaho Statesman. “In my third year professional, finally racing the Tour confirms a lot for me personally. It will be a super challenging month but I have prepared well and feel more than ready.”

BYRDS, which is in its 23rd year, offers Treasure Valley youths access and support to participate in cycling, according to its website. It is where Jorgenson solidified his love for the sport and began his march toward a professional career.

“I am super proud to be from Boise and come from such a cycling-friendly city,” said Jorgenson, whose family moved to Boise when he was just a baby. “It was an amazing place to grow up and start cycling with BYRDS. I hope to represent it well.”

In his return from a hamstring injury, Jorgenson took 13th overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month. He will be one of only 10 riders from North America — seven from the U.S. and three from Canada — racing in the Tour de France, according to Velonews.com.

“Jorgenson has become known for his special combination of climbing ability, raw power and superb bike handling skill,” wrote Marshall Opel of Cyclingweekly.com.

Jorgenson’s path to the pinnacle of his sport is a unique one.

The European-dominated UCI World Tour can be difficult for Americans to break in to, so Jorgenson got creative in landing a spot with a European squad.

While still competing on the U.S. junior racing scene, he said he began sending letters to European teams introducing himself and lobbying for a spot, according to a Velonews.com story from 2019. He even learned to speak French so he could better communicate with prospective teams.

“I tried to build any sort of connection or relationship I could that could get me onto a team,” Jorgenson told VeloNews. “Reaching out to these teams and telling them to watch me and getting them to know my name was incredibly helpful in that regard.”

Jorgenson eventually landed a spot with the Chambéry CF development squad, and that led to a deal with Spain’s Movistar Team in 2020.

“Even if I’ve opened the door the slightest bit, or just showed guys that there is another avenue, I’m happy,” Jorgenson told VeloNews. “Even if it felt crazy at the time.”

Jorgenson will be making his Tour de France debut with a Movistar squad that has competed every year since 1983. Joining Jorgenson and Mas on Movistar are Carlos Verona, likd Imanol Erviti, Nelson Oliveira, Gorka Izagirre, Gregor Mühlberger and Albert Torres.

The day of the Grand Départ — or start of the race — also coincides with Jorgenson’s 23rd birthday.