Michael Storer – A matter of timing

Photography © Tudor

On the back of a new year, a new team and some great early results, Michael Storer is hoping to make the 2024 season his best to date

Michael Storer

Words Jack Lynch

Usually I say the harder the better, but I’m not a huge fan of rain,’ says Michael Storer from his home near Varese, Italy, barely a day after he returned his name to the upper echelons of the WorldTour.

‘I tend to prefer nice and hot and dry weather, like we get in Perth.’ The Western Australian had just finished sixth on GC in the UAE Tour, with an impressive fourth place up the Jebel Hafeet climb on the final intense stage.

There aren’t too many races on the calendar hotter and drier than the UAE Tour, but it was a terrific start to new beginnings for Storer in his first outing with Swiss outfit, Tudor Pro Cycling Team.

Storer has moved on from a two-year stint at Groupama-FDJ, and his team must have been thrilled with his first outing alongside Tudor teammates.

‘We were going for top 10,’ says Storer. ‘But top 20 would have been okay.

Top 10’s pretty hard in a WorldTour race.’ Tudor Pro Cycling Team is a ProTour squad, and this is the first time Storer has been in the UCI’s second tier since his pro debut in 2018 for Team Sunweb (now Team dsm-firmenich PostNL) as a 21-year-old.

But he is quick to point out that Tudor should not be considered a rank below cycling’s pinnacle.

He says the team, which boasts Fabian Cancellara as its patron, is as professional and well-organised as any on the WorldTour.

‘The staff at Tudor are WorldTour level – they’re the best in the business,’ he says. ‘That’s one of the reasons I went there, because they have the best support structure around.

I doubt there are many teams that would be as good as this structure. You’d have to look at the top teams like Jumbo [now Team Visma–Lease a Bike], maybe Ineos.

The way this team works is really high-level.’ As a ProTour team, Tudor needs to constantly hit its peaks in order to survive and be counted as one of the world’s best.

At the UAE Tour, its objectives were split between helping Storer and hunting for a stage victory with Dutch sprinter, Arvid de Kleijn, who impressively – but also heartbreakingly – managed three second places, each time beaten by Soudal-Quickstep’s Tim Merlier.

Indeed, one wonders about Storer’s ceiling should he be afforded the leadership status of some of the other stage-racing climbers he competes against.

A potential leader?

However imperfect and despite not racing with a WorldTour team, Storer will likely receive more opportunities to be his best at Tudor than during the past two seasons at FDJ.

The French squad, led by sentimentalist Marc Madiot, is seen as a team that runs on passion as much as analytics.

Pro cycling’s continual march towards science over feeling has seen some accuse FDJ of falling behind, too often counting on their heart over their head.

Michael Storer

Thibaut Pinot’s 2023 retirement could have opened the door for Storer, but there’s a sense the French team needs to support a French rider, so David Gaudu – who is four months older than Storer – is the obvious successor to Pinot.

If there are hard feelings towards Groupama-FDJ, Storer doesn’t show it.

He’s focused on the future with Tudor Pro Cycling, a team obsessed with details and performance, much like the Swiss watchmaker that lends them  its name.

Tudor, he says, is a smooth machine that strives for perfection in everything.

Just one race in, Storer lauds the culture of the team and asserts that every rider supports one another to achieve their goals, ensuring a greater team outcome.

‘The structure lifts me up,’ he says. Such an attitude will allow him to perform at his best, and although he’s looking forward to leadership in the mountainous races, it was the pull of the professional management and accomplished staff that brought him over.

Staying the course

Storer clearly understands his strengthsand knows what races and events suit him. In an Olympic year, the Paris Games aren’t on his radar as the course doesn’t include the high mountains of which he is so fond.

Although still relatively young, Storer is yet to pull on the green-and-gold jersey for a senior World Championship or Olympic race.

‘Racing in the Olympics and Worlds is something you want to do at least once,’ he says. ‘But if not, there’s a lot more to cycling than the Olympics and the World Championships.

I wouldn’t be devastated if I didn’t get there.’ It all speaks to a humility and self-awareness that few elite athletes possess.

While others will do anything they can to experience racing for their nation, Storer is comfortable to wait until he can contribute to the team and achieve strong personal results.

And to be certain, there have been many personal highlights to date. Storer is a two-time Vuelta a España stage winner (both in 2021).

He’s won the KOM at the Vuelta (2021) and was third in that category in 2023. He’s won the GC in Tour de l’Ain in 2021 and 2023.

Storer is one of Australia’s best stage racers and is steadily improving his time trial skills. He’s often thereabouts in major stages of big races, and with the confidence of a few big results, his strength and consistency could see him as a threat in every stage race he starts.

Off the bike, Storer keeps a relatively low profile for an Australian with so much potential. Even his Instagram account is set to private.

He’ll continue to grind away and progressively improve with each race, executing the simple things with precision and dedication.

There’s nothing flashy about Storer (except perhaps his Black Bay model Tudor watch, which the team was presented with following a tour of the brand’s headquarters in Le Locle, Switzerland), but if his career continues to tick along with the consistency of a Swiss timepiece, and he combines strong race acumen with a bit of luck, there’s no doubt we’ll hear more of this mountain goat from the west.

Age 27
Hometown Perth, WA
Tudor Pro Cycling Team
Team Sunweb
Mitchelton Scott

Notable results
1st Overall,
1st Points
1st Stage 3,
Tour de l’Ain
2nd Overall,
Tour of the Alps
1st Overall,
1st Points
1st Mountains
1st Stage 3,
Tour de l’Ain

1st Mountains
1st Stages 7 and 10
Vuelta a España

Cyclist Australia/NZ