EF Education-EasyPost has added South African talent Stefan de Bod to its roster for the next two seasons. De Bod has 10 years of racing experience, having excelled in time trial disciplines since his youth.
The 25-year-old South African is the US-based WorldTeam’s fifth signing for next season, having confirmed Ineos Grenadiers teammates Richard Carapaz and Andrey Amador to the Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli duo of Andrea Piccolo and Jefferson Cepeda, as well as Mikkel Honoré. from QuickStep-AlphaVinyl.
De Bod began his professional career in 2016 with Dimension Data, and was on the program when he moved up to WorldTour status in 2019. De Bod rode his first Grand Tour at the Vuelta a España when the team rode as NTT Pro Cycling in 2020. continued at the highest level for the next two seasons with Astana.
“Stefan is a driver I have watched for quite some time. He is an underrated talent who can be a key asset to a team like ours trying to focus on getting great results in hilly racing,” said EF Education-EasyPost CEO Jonathan Vaughters.
“His time trial had gone unnoticed, but it is an example of his level of talent. My hope is that we take him to his potential and that he becomes invaluable within this team.”
It is in the time trial discipline that De Bod has consistently excelled throughout his career. He is a four-time silver medalist at the national elite time trial championships, including in 2016 when he participated in the event when he was 19 years old. Three years later he moved onto the WorldTour stage.
“My first professional year was 2019 and I only had a three-month tourist visa in Europe, so it was a really challenging year. I did as many races as Tour of Turkey and Tour of Guangxi to have more racing days. Then 2020 was Covid, so I don’t need to say much about that,” De Bod recounted in a team press release.
“This year got off to a rough start due to illness. In the last two years, I feel that most of the time it was difficult, but I still pushed for good results. For the future, it shows that I can do a lot if I can reach my full potential. I am proud to have overcome these years and to have learned a lot about perseverance and determination.”
In his last season with Astana Qazaqstan, the South African placed seventh in the UAE Tour time trial in February, placed in the top 10 in the Sibiu Cycling Tour time trial and the prologue at the Tour of Slovakia. He admits that he doesn’t consider himself a TT specialist. He just likes to keep his head down and show his strength on any field.
“For sure the time trial is one of my specialties, but I don’t think I’m a time trial specialist. I can get good results and potentially win, but I don’t consider myself a specialist,” he said.
“Of course there is the aerodynamics and maybe one guy is more aerodynamic than another, but at the end of the day it comes down to who is stronger and who can dig deeper to get to the finish faster. That is a good feeling. But I don’t think anyone enjoys the last two kilometers of a time trial.”
He is reunited with his old Astana and Dimension Data teammate, Eritrean Merhawi Kudus, who joined EF Education last season to sharpen his climbing skills. They will participate in a team camp in December, where schedules and goals for the 2023 season will be developed. Until then, he will spend some time off the road bike at his parents’ home in South Africa.
“It’s a really nice feeling to be able to travel to amazing places around the world, see amazing nature. In some of the places I mountain bike in South Africa, there are places a car just can’t take you. For me, riding a bike is just a part of your life. It’s one of the best things there is.”