When born in Norway, the passion for mountains and snow, and therefore resistance to freezing temperatures, develop accordingly. Johannes Staune-Mittet, by way of example, was born in Lillehammer, where the Winter Olympics were held in 1994, just a couple of hours’ drive from Galdhøpiggen (2470 m), Norway’s highest peak, although nowhere near as high as the Stelvio (2757 m).
In short, an ideal place to get used to big climbs, big efforts and sport in general. But how can a Norwegian rising talent choose between cycling and skiing, in a country where the latter is nothing short of a cult. Well, Johannes chose not to choose, and for several years he opted for cycling in summer and cross-country skiing in winter. He actually went as far as to make it into the national team in both sports. That was the case until around two years ago, when cycling eventually prevailed. And it couldn’t have been otherwise, because when a team like Jumbo-Visma decides to include you in its development team, it means you are more than just any other rider.
Staune-Mittet likes tough, long-distance races, and given his background, it is no coincidence that he is strong in both time trials and climbs. Last year he started to make his mark, placing in the top 10 of almost every stage race he competed in, including those with professionals. At the Tour de l’Avenir he finished 2nd, beaten only by the child prodigy Cian Uijtdebroecks. His first victories came at the Ronde de l’Isard, first a stage win and then the general classification. This year he won the Giro del Belvedere and today he conquered the Stelvio, taking the Maglia Rosa with four stages to go in the Giro Next Gen.
Jumbo-Visma have already signed him up until 2026 and next year he will officially turn professional, which means he has just enough time to enjoy the most prestigious U23 races and seek some confirmation, like the one he had today on the slopes of Stelvio. Winning the Giro Next Gen means having the stigmata of the champion, which he very much seems to possess. He has proved to attack like a champion! Everyone will be racing against him from here to Trieste though, let’s see if he can also respond like one.