Rally Cycling is excited to announce the signing of WorldTour veteran Svein Tuft for the 2019 season. Currently living in Pal, Andorra, the 41-year-old Canadian spent the last seven seasons with WorldTour squad Mitchelton-Scott (formerly Orica GreenEDGE) as well as a two-year stint with Team Garmin. During his career, Tuft has anchored team time trial squads that claimed stage wins at the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Eneco Tour, and Tirreno Adriatico.
Tuft was the oldest rider to take part in this year’s Giro d’Italia and announced in May that it would likely be his last Grand Tour, an admission that many took as a retirement announcement.
While visiting Girona, Spain this summer, Performance Manager Jonas Carney met with Tuft to discuss working together for the first time since they were teammates back in 2002 on the US-based Prime Alliance squad. Discussions progressed quickly and the two came to an agreement at the beginning of September.
“The chance to ride for a North American team with a bunch of Canadians came along in Rally Cycling and I couldn’t refuse,” said Tuft. “Sharing all that I have learned is what motivates me these days and I couldn’t imagine a better team to do that with. One of the aspects I’ve really enjoyed on my current team Michelton-Scott has been sharing my years of experience with the younger fellas. The chance to do that with my fellow North Americans making that jump to Europe was very appealing to me.”
Tuft has established himself as a veteran leader in the WorldTour thanks to his time spent on Australia’s team.
“Michelton-Scott has been my family for seven years,” said Tuft. “I’ve been part of the evolution of a team that was focusing on one-day races and stages and is now winning grand tours. It has been an amazing journey with them and I thank everyone for the incredible support and experience of my time there.”
First joining the WorldTour with Garmin-Slipstream in 2009, Tuft brings an extraordinary amount of experience not only racing in Europe but living there.
“My role with Rally Cycling will really be about support,” said Tuft. “I’ve done pretty much every WorldTour race on the calendar and understand the difficulties of transitioning from North America to Europe. The biggest difference is not in physical ability but it’s in all the other details of European racing. Distance, pace, technical ability, reading the race, lifestyle and time are really the main factors. So, my goal will be to share as much of my knowledge that I can and then within the race help them through positioning and navigating the European peloton.”
For Performance Manager Jonas Carney, signing Tuft was an integral part of building a successful roster for 2019.
“We have a lot of talented young riders on our team who are capable of making the transition to Europe and it’s important that we have a veteran rider with lots of European experience to mentor those guys,” said Carney. “For three years Danny Pate filled that role but with Pate retiring and our European schedule expanding, it was more important than ever that we fill that position. Svein was the perfect fit for us. He knows all the races, is well respected in the European peloton, can operate as a road captain, and sets a great example off the bike.”
Team Manager Jake Erker along with Team Director Eric Wohlberg were both teammates with Tuft on the Canadian Symmetrics squad from 2005 – 2008. Erker saw first-hand Tuft’s strength and character as he ascended the professional ranks.
“Svein is a perfect example of a North American athlete that evolved from conquering the America’s Tour, to captaining a WorldTour program in Europe,” said Erker. “He ticks off all of the boxes in seeking a guide through the European peloton and I’m thrilled to have him as a part of our growing program.”