by Wil Barrett
January 11, 2017
Today, Santa Cruz wins the internet. After months of speculation about changes to the Syndicate World Cup Downhill race team, and the recent announcement from Josh Bryceland that he’d be stepping down from his World Cup pursuits, the Santa Cruz Syndicate has published a brilliant video introducing their newest recruits.
The Santa Cruz Syndicate team was first launched in 2006, and at that point in time it included Aussie downhill hitters Nathan Rennie (aka ‘Stomper’) and Johnny Waddell. In 2008, the Syndicate team trimmed down to just three riders; Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar and Josh Bryceland. All three riders have gone on to achieve race victory after race victory, including World Championship wins, World Cup overall titles, and the Overall Team title. To say it’s been one of the most successful downhill teams of all time would be an understatement.
Not only has the team achieved success on the race track, but they’ve remained a tight-knit group for over eight years, which is an absolute age in the world of World Cup racing, where riders and teams change contracts on what feels like a weekly basis. However, 2017 will see the biggest change to the Syndicate team since 2008. Fresh blood will be injected into the team courtesy of two young riders who are steadily rising up the ranks of the Elite Men’s category after both dominating the Junior ranks.
Luca Shaw (US) and Loris Vergier (FRA) are the two latest riders to join the Syndicate team, filling the holes left behind as Josh Bryceland steps back from UCI World Cup racing. It appears that Steve Peat will remain in a coaching/mentor role for the team through 2017, following his retirement from World Cup racing in 2016. It’s certainly an exciting time for the the Syndicate team, and for the wider race community.
Luca Shaw is a 20-year old downhill racer who had already been racing for Santa Cruz, but in a different team with SRAM and Troy Lee Designs. With promising results in the Elite category over the past two years, there’s certainly plenty more excitement to come from Shaw, and the Santa Cruz Syndicate team is betting on it.
Loris Vergier is another exciting addition to the team, and also shows enormous potential after his impressive performances in the Junior racing category. Vergier had previously been racing with Team Specialized Gravity, alongside his French BFF Loic Bruni. While Bruni went on to have a stellar 2016 race season, Vergier was a little further down the ranks. So while we’re upset that Vergier has been split up from his best buddy Bruni, perhaps a new team and management will give him the support he needs to shine in 2017 and beyond.
But enough of that, lets get back to Steve Peat shouting at the two new recruits, and Greg Minnaar’s AMAZING moustache.
And we challenge you not to crack a smile when you watch the outtake reel…