BOISE, Idaho — It's been 10 days since the Tour de France wrapped up in Paris and Jonas Vinegaard captured his first tour win in the yellow jersey. His name may not mean something to you, but if you follow cycling circles, it like does.
For Boise bike racing aficionados, the name Matteo Jorgensen means more. Jorgensen has been back in Boise for about a week, having just finished his first Tour de France.
The Boise High School graduate finished a surprising 21st out of 176 riders, sprinkling in a few top-five stage finishes to get there.
This week, Jorgensen has been resting - for sure - hanging with friends and family, but he's also been training while he's been home, getting in 20 hours on his bike, because there's still the rest of the professional cycling season to go.
Jorgensen took some time from his training this week to sit down with the 208 and reflect on his first foray in cycling's biggest stage.
Back in the day, Jorgensen's mother Sheri asked him, "what are you doing?"
If "training for the Tour de France" was young Matteo Jorgensen's answer to his mom's question, it wouldn't have shocked her.
"He was interested in doing anything his big brother and sister were doing but loved the outdoors, any athletic pursuit he was interested in, at least trying," Sheri said.
Jorgensen ultimately succeeded, turning three national junior titles before he turned 19, into a professional career in Europe. The Boise High grad took his first turn in the Tour de France on the day he turned 23.
During the three-week, 21-stage race across Europe, Jorgensen made quite the impression, earning several mentions from NBC commentators.
"It might be Matteo Jorgenson who has played if perfectly. Here he comes, just behind nick. let's see if they don't work together."
"Not easy to find the breakaway, but Matteo is riding great."
Jorgensen said he has been sleeping a lot this week while back home in Boise. He also said the pre-race nerves he thought he put behind him, returned.
"Yeah, I have to say, I'll admit the first week before we started the tour when it was all kind of the lead up, yeah, I was nervous," Jorgensen said. "I mean, it was a big moment and the tour is the biggest bike race in the world. So, definitely I was nervous."
However, once he settled in, Jorgensen seemed to find his rhythm.
NBC commentators: "He might have just enough to win the stage, but it looks to me it's Jorgensen the strongest of these four riders."
Of course, the course had its share of ups and downs.
NBC commentators: "Oh wait a moment, we've got something going on here. Oh no, Matteo Jorgensen."
Unfortunately, quick-changing tires weren't the only bumps in the road for Jorgensen.
During stage three, before the riders flew to France, there was a big pile up as the cyclists tightly raced.
"There was just a big pile up on a little cobblestone section and I went down and fell, I think on my elbow and had a big, deep gas," Jorgensen said.
The gash would require stitches. It was not the last time Jorgensen had to pick himself up off the ground.
"I was trying to take some big risks, because to pull back a minute on a descent, you kind of have to go a lot faster through corners and yeah, I just pushed it too much and crashed," Jorgensen said.
At 23 years old, in his first Tour de France, Jorgensen actually had a stage 16 win in his sights.
"You just spend so much time preparing and sacrificing all the rest of your life, that when you get there and you feel like you have the ability to win, it's like you want to do it and it's super motivating," Jorgensen said. "It wasn't as unfortunate, because I hit the ground it was more, 'okay, well it's done now, I lost.' When you have that much adrenaline and you're trying to win a stage of the Tour de France, I didn't even feel the crash at all until after the stage and I was getting cleaned up by the doctor."
Even with a crash, Jorgensen finished 4th for the second time.
"4th is like the worst, the worst place in cycling. It's not good for anything. It's not a podium, you're up there, but you really didn't do anything, so yeah it was pretty disappointing," Jorgensen said. "All I can take from it is, that you know I showed myself well."
Despite the being critical of his Tour de France debut, Jorgensen admitted his 21st-place finish was "super motivating."
"I actually feel motivated to go back on my bike and work hard and try to have a good second half of the year and try to win a race," Jorgensen said. "As a young rider, you kind of have to prove yourself on these big teams, because you're riding with guys - some of my teammates have been professional for like 20 years. So, they've been professional as long as I've been alive. So, despite being disappointed in the moment, I didn't win a stage. I'm looking back now and it's like well, 'I'm young, it's my first tour and I think I performed well and showed that I have the potential to do it in the future. So, there's not much more you can ask for and I'm pretty lucky."
Jorgensen joined team Movistar three years ago, which is a team based in Spain. So, the Boise native had to pick up Spanish pretty quickly.
When asked if he has to explain to people how someone from Idaho is racing in Europe, or even just where Idaho is Jorgensen said there are actually quite a few riders and directors on his team that are Basque.
So, yeah, they've hear of Boise, Idaho.
Jorgensen will only be home for a few more days, returning to his "home-away-from-home," France on August 14, because there is a race in Hamburg coming up.
Jorgensen was hoping to go from the Tour de France, to riding in the Boise Basin Hill Climb on August 13, but alas, his team said no on Wednesday.
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