Rowing medallist Jason Osborne signs up for Deceuninck - Quick-Step

The first Esports cycling world champion links up with the team of Julian Alaphilippe and Mark Cavendish for the rest of the season. 

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Germany's rowing Olympic medallist Jason Osborne has made the switch to road cycling, signing for top team Deceuninck - Quick-Step.

The Belgian outfit announced the news on Monday (30 August), just a month after Osborne and Jonathan Rommelmann took silver in the lightweight double sculls at Tokyo 2020 behind Ireland's Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan.

Osborne, who won the single sculls world crown in 2018, claimed the first men's Esports cycling world title last December.

He will compete in "a number of races until the end of the season" for the team which has reigning road race world champion Julian Alaphilippe and this year's Tour de France green jersey hero Mark Cavendish in its ranks.

On the Deceuninck - Quick-Step website, the 27-year-old said, "I always wanted to make the transition to cycling, but with rowing being there it wasn’t possible to commit 100 per cent to this. Now with the Olympics being over and it having been successful for me, I can focus on this.

"Cycling has always been part of my training ritual in rowing. I have done a lot of base training on the bike since 2012, when I bought my first road bike, then over the years I became more passionate about it, did some races, got into the competitive side of the sport and tried to develop.

"I like time trials, but also hilly courses where you need to deliver an explosive effort on short climbs, the type of which is kind of similar to what you need to do in rowing."

I am aware there are a lot of things I need to learn, but I want to take it one step at a time and see what I can achieve. - JASON OSBORNE

Quick-Step head coach Koen Pelgrim said, "We have seen Jason’s physical attributes in his win at the Esports Worlds, and this was confirmed in the testing that we have done with him. We are curious how that will translate into racing."

Osborne is not the first athlete to switch between rowing and cycling.

Britain's Rebecca Romero took silver in the quadruple sculls at Athens 2004 before winning individual pursuit gold in the velodrome at Beijing 2008.

More recently, Hamish Bond won the Oceania time trial road cycling title in 2018 after claiming two golds in the pair with Eric Murray.

He returned to rowing for Tokyo 2020 and secured his third Olympic title, helping New Zealand clinch their first gold in the men's eight since Munich 1972.

Former Tour de France winner and five-time Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins signalled his intention to try to qualify for Tokyo 2020 in rowing, but abandoned his bid months after finishing 21st in the 2017 British Indoor Rowing Championships.

Osborne and Rommelmann Tokyo
Picture by 2021 Getty Images