Team moves and rumours: The movers, shakers and maybes of 2021

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It’s the silly season again, and with the world, in chaos, we’re seeing some surprising team rumours and sponsorship news.

Suarez, Höll, Zinc Silva off YT

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Let’s start with the latest news that Vali Höll, Adolf Silva and Cam Zinc will be leaving YT for 2021. This news follows on from the announcement that Angel Suarez won’t race for the YT Mob in 2021 either.

For a brand to announce a few changes in teams and sponsorship at the end of a season is normal, but for YT to have made 4 major changes isn’t what we would expect, especially when one of those riders is Vali Höll!

Of course, we don’t know the reason for these changes, was it a YT decision, an athlete decision or a bit of both? But still, 4 big names off YT is strange.

So where will these riders leave too?

Vali Höll – Trek or Specialized?

Vali is one of the most promising young riders on the DH circuit and there is a lot of chatter that she could have been snapped up by a brand with plenty of budget. Trek hasn’t had a dominating female rider since Rachel Atherton so Vali would make a great asset, the same goes for Specialized who has dominated the men but not the women. Where is your money on?

Angel Suarez – Starting a new project?

Angel has posted a few shots of his new bike hidden from view over the holidays and while the bike isn’t visible parts from Burgtec and (perhaps) Crankbrothers were. We know Burgtec has sponsorship deals with the Syndicate but we don’t think Angel is moving there. Perhaps he’s working on a new project? One that will allow him to ride a V10, or something equally Supreme?

Kevin Miquel leaves Sunn EWS team

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It’s not just the silly season for the downhill teams, but Enduro and XC too. Just hours ago French star Kevin Miquel announced his departure from the successful Sunn EWS team. At the same time, he also bid farewell to teammate and French Champion Theo Galy. Rumour has it that the Sunn EWS team will be restructured with new management, new sponsors and a new line-up of riders ready to take on 2021.

Remi Thirion leaves Commencal

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It was surprising and a little sad to see that Remi Thirion won’t be riding a Commencal in 2021. The French rider has been with the Andorran brand for 8 years and has been one of the most exciting riders to watch with some epic runs this past season.

It’s not yet been revealed where Remi will be headed too, but with his experience, we suspect he could be heading to a BIG brand that wants to rekindle it’s glory days.

Veronique Sandler – Off Marin

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Over the holidays, Veronique Sandler announced to her huge fanbase that she will be saying ‘good-bye’ to Marin after 3 years together. Veronique was one of a few big names on the Marin brands joined by the likes of Matt Jones and Martha Gill.

So where is she headed to?

Veronique Sandler to Canyon Collective?

Based purely on the idea that we would love to see this happen and that Tahnee Seagrave was one of the first to comment on Vero’s Marin news, we’re putting our money on the Canyon Collective.

Martha Gill off Deity

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Speaking of Martha Gill, Vero’s ex-teammate has announced that she won’t be riding Deity components in 2021. This isn’t as big a news as leaving a bike/frame sponsor but that’s not to say Martha doesn’t have more team news to spring on us in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Loris Vergier off Syndicate, Fox Clothing, FiveTen, Oakley and Shimano

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Just as it’s unusual to see YT say farewell to 4 riders, it’s equally odd to see Loris Vergier say goodbye to 5 of his sponsors! The news all started with Lori’s decision not to re-sign with the Santa Cruz Syndicate, huge news by itself but made even juicier with the addition of Fox Clothing, FiveTen Oakely and Shimano.

Where will Loris Vergier move to?

The big money is on Trek signing Loris Vergier. Trek has the drive and budget to sign Loris, and Loris has more of a chance at being the number 1 rider at Trek as opposed to Santa Cruz or even Specialized or Commencal, 2 other teams that are rumoured to be after him.

Commencal off SRAM and RockShox

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Leaving the big ‘S’ means that we’ll likely see Commencal riding another big ‘S’ and a large ‘F’ for 2021. Commencal is one of the most successful teams out there and they need a hefty budget to keep it all running so will Shimano and Fox be the ones to write the cheques? The idea that Commencal will probably run Shimano in 2021 should also be further evidence that Loris won’t be on an Andorran rig for the coming season.

Reece Wilson staying with Trek

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Ok, we say Loris has a chance at being the number 1 at Trek, but it won’t be easy with Scottish rider Reece Wilson remaining with the team for another season.

Reece Wilson had an amazing season with Trek in 2020 taking home the World Championship title. He, Loris and Vali, would make one hell of a stacked team for 2021! Fingers crossed.

Camille Balanche re-signs with Dorval

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Our women’s World Champion has also revealed that she has re-signed with her current sponsor. Camille Balanche will race for 2021 with the Dorval team in her Únic created Rainbow Jersey. Camille’s post also confirms that Dorval will remain on Commencal in 2021.

Emily Batty and Trek split after over a decade

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After 12 years of racing and riding together, Trek and Emily Batty will go their separate ways. Emily has already confirmed that she will be back on the race circuit in 2021 and images on social media suggest she could have a Fox ride for the coming season.

Yoann Barelli leaves Commencal

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When not taking his clothes off, Yoann Barelli raced enduro for Commencal, but that has come to an end for 2021. Not only will Yoann not be on Commencal, but he will also take a step back from racing altogether. It’s likely that Yoann will pick up a sponsor closer to home and he has already teased his new ride on social media.

Phil Atwill and Gaetan Vige off Cube Action Team

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Phil Atwill had a storming season with some amazing results, he also remains one of the most enjoyable and fun riders on the circuit but don’t expect to see him on a Cube in 2021. Both Phil and teammate Gaeton Vige have announced they won’t return to the Cube Action Team with the rumour being that Phil is working on a new team of his own. We have nothing solid but expect to see Phil working closely with a few of his previous sponsors in the coming year.

Danny Hart off Saracen Veronika Widmann Joins Matt Walker

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Perhaps the earliest piece of team news of the year was that Madison Saracen had made the decision not to sign Danny Hart for 2021. The news came as a shock as it was revealed before the end of the 2020 season. According to gossip which began with comments from Rob Warner, Danny Hart is set to ride for Cube in 2021 with Phil Atwill and Gaeton Vige leaving the German team for a new project.

As Hart leaves, Vero Wildman and Jordan Williams will join Matt Walker on the Madison Saracen downhill team.

Lewis Buchanan leaves Forbidden

In other enduro news, Lewis Buchanan won’t be piloting those gorgeous high-pivot bikes from Forbidden next season. Lewis announced the news on his social media and posted this above YouTube video to explain his decision. Earlier today Lewis posted a heavily camouflaged photo of his new frame which has since been removed.

Unior and Devinci Part Ways

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The Unior / Devinci partnership comes to an end after 3 years together. What this means for Unior’s involvement in racing remains to be seen but some commentators believe this is further proof of a Trek super team featuring Höll, Wilson and Vergier, as Trek is the distributor of Unior in the U.S.

Katy Winton is another rider to leave Trek

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Is Trek making way for some big new signing’s or is this just that time when riders and teams part ways? Either way, we’re sad to see Miss Winton won’t be riding for Trek, but we’re confident she has something exciting in the works.

Tracey Hannah Retires

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Tracey Hannah won’t be racing any World Cups in 2021, after 9 years with UR, Tracey is one of the biggest names in WC Downhill and will be missed at races in 2021.

That’s all the team news and rumours we have for 2021 so far, but watch out for more news coming in the days and weeks as the New Year rolls in.

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