'Exceptional' Colombian youngster Sergio Higuita makes mid-season switch to EF Education First

The UCI has given permission for the 21-year-old to move up from the Continental ranks

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Colombian rising star Sergio Higuita has made the mid-season switch to EF Education First from the Continental ranks.

The 21-year-old climber has attracted plenty of attention from the WorldTour, with multiple teams chasing him for a contract.

But Higuita has opted to ride for Jonathan Vaughters' US outfit Education First, where he will debut at the Tour of California on Sunday (May 12).

Team boss Vaughters said: "Sergio is quite an exceptional talent.

"He's rarely been off the podium in any race that has an uphill section. We're pretty excited the UCI allowed us to bring him on board a little early this year."

>>> Team Ineos reveal Giro d’Italia 2019 line-up after Egan Bernal pulls out 

Higuita, from Medellín, appeared on Vaughters' radar after the 2018 Tour of Colombia where he won a stage, took the youth classification and finished fifth overall.

He had ridden for Colombian Professional Continental team Manzana Postobon from 2016, but moved to the Fundación Euskadi Contintental team at the start of 2019 to prepare him for European racing as part of the switch to Education First.

This season, Higuita finished sixth, fourth and 12th in Challenge Mallorca races, won  the best young rider jersey in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, finished seventh overall at the Vuelta a Andalucia and also took third at the GP Miguel Indurain.

His transfer to Education First had been planned for June, but the strength of his results prompted the team to bump him up earlier.

>>> Bob Jungels and Elia Viviani to lead Deceuninck – Quick-Step at Giro d’Italia 2019 

Higuita entered his first bike race at five years old and was offered a contract with Manzana Postobon at 17.

He said: "I don't really have the words to explain my happiness, but now I have to keep going.

"It was hard to get here, but it will be even harder to stay here.

"I am so excited to debut at the Tour of California. I'm looking forward to working for guys like Rigoberto Uran and Tejay van Garderen.

"I looked up to them when I was younger. To be able to ride alongside them is a big motivation for me to give my best."

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.