by Wil Barrett
January 5, 2017
As the calendar flips over for the start of another trip around the sun, there are many to’ings and fro’ings going on amongst various mountain bike teams during the middle of the off-season. Back in November, we received a cryptic poem that contained a whole bunch of clues about various changes to World Cup teams and athlete movings. And now after weeks and months of rumours and conjecture, many of those rumours are now coming to light.
Here’s a highlight from the annual Bold And The Beautiful episode from the mountain bike racing world.
1. Manon Carpenter Leaves Madison/Saracen, Joins Radon Bikes
2. Mathias Flückiger Joins Radon Bikes
Speaking of Radon Bikes, there are a whole bunch of new riders flying the flag for the German direct-to-consumer brand, including the Swiss XC speedster; Mathias Flückiger.
Its 2017 and time to release the exciting news! We are proud to announce our new team, Radon Factory XC Team! Radon Bikes #newteam #2017 #newgoals #future #excitied @ralphnaef @kathrinstirnemann @alessandrakeller Read the official press release, link in bio! Happy to work also with our great team partners @shimanomtb @fox @schwalbetires @lazersport @northwave_official @selle_italia @sponser.sportfood @esigrips Texmarket and Orthopädie St. Gallen
3. Josh Bryceland Quits World Cup DH Racing
If you can stand 22 minutes of listening to Josh Bryceland’s voice, then here’s a video of Brycleand announcing why he’s stepping back from the top level of downhill racing.
4. Jolanda Neff Joins Kross Bikes
Not a new rumour, but a big change nonetheless. Another elite Swiss mountain biker is moving teams for 2017, though this time it’s Jolanda Neff. Neff will be racing for Kross in 2017, and is hoping for some better luck after a injury put her back in 2016. Good luck Jolanda!
5. Canyon Forming World Cup DH Team
More teasing from the German bike brand, which launched a new carbon fibre downhill bike called the Sender in 2016. To pilot such a beast, Canyon is amassing a World Cup DH Team that is rumoured to include Troy Brosnan and Greg Williamson.
6. Brian Lopes Leaves Intense Cycles
Whilst Brian Lopes hasn’t been on the UCI race circuit for some time, he’s a big name in the scene and a big asset to all of his sponsors. So the news of him leaving Intense Cycles is substantial – where will Lopes head next?
7. Adam Craig Retires
A humble part of me was hoping to shrug off life as a professional bike racer, but @deckerator wasn’t about to let that happen… Fourteen years ago we started officially living the dream when we joined the @giantfactoryoffroadteam aka #adamandcarlsfungiantteam || Today is my first day of retirement from that dream of racing my bike around the globe, and first day of continuing to live the two-wheeled fantasy. @giantbicycles has kept me on as an “ambassador” so you’re not rid of me yet. Let’s ride, dig, adventure and share ideas! Happy New Year, folks, thanks for the enthusiasm so far and in the future. It’s been so good. ||Carl has penned a blog about our time so far, it’s worth a read. “Tonight you Rub my Feet” Ha. Link up there.
8. Yoann Barelli Joins Commencal
9. Andrew Neethling Leaves Polygon Bikes
South African downhill star Andrew Neethling has announced he’s moving from Polygon Bikes. After a long racing career, Needles isn’t necessarily retiring from racing, but has indicated that he’s “excited about the future!”
So, what other team changes and athlete moves can we add to the list?