Musical Chairs: 2017 Team Changes

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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

The Welsh superstar, Manon Carpenter, has moved to German bike company Radon.
Carpenter’s new World Cup Downhill race sled; the Radon Swoop.

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

A photo posted by Mathias Flückiger (@mathflueck) on

3. Josh Bryceland Quits World Cup DH Racing

Minaar and Bryceland
One of the worst-kept secrets of the race world, Josh Bryceland has quit 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!

My most beautiful Christmas present 😍 can’t wait to race this beauty next year 🎁😊🔥@krossbikes @kross_racing_team ❣

A photo posted by Jolanda Neff (@jolandaneff) on

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.

It’s coming!

A photo posted by Canyon Bikes (@canyon_bikes) on

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

ADAM CRAIG gel handup
An absolute legend of the sport, Adam Craig has announced he’s retiring from professional bike racing. And that includes XC, cyclocross and Enduro.

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.

A photo posted by Adam Craig (@an_adamcraig) on

8. Yoann Barelli Joins Commencal

Yoann Barelli
You would have read this story earlier in the week, but the French/Canadian star recently announced his move to 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?

10. Richie Rude & Yeti Back To World Cup DH Racing?

Who wants to see more of this in 2017? #dh6c #yeticycles #ridefox #rideshimano

A photo posted by Richie Rude (@richie_rude1) on

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