Athertons aim high at Commencal team launch

Family back as unit, aiming for top in 2010

The 2010 Commencal team launch took place yesterday at Llandegla Forest, North Wales, where Gee, Dan and Rachel Atherton unveiled their new bikes and tour bus for the upcoming race season.

After missing out on most of the 2009 downhill season after a collision with a truck, Rachel is almost at full fitness and has her sights set on World Cup podiums and picking up some silverware at the World Championships in September.

''I couldn't be any more excited about the coming season," she said. "To be back in the thick of the team, racing, riding and working with the best companies and people out there.”

Gee admitted he was disappointed with his 2009 season, in which he finished fourth place overall in the World Cup series but failed to top the podium at any round – despite qualifying fastest at Andorra, Slovenia and FortWilliam.

“Last year I was super-fit, we entered the season strong," he said. "With a long off-season nearly coming to an end I’m super-excited about getting involved in the race scene again."

Dan riding the new Commencal Team Supreme downhill bike

Dan has been training hard during the off-season, focussing on his four-cross technique – working particularly on his gate starts and strength. “This season everything seems to be falling into place," he said. "Confidence is high –- we can’t wait to get stuck in!"

Following a cameo at the UCI World Supercross BMX race in Madrid earlier this year, Dan hinted at a possible move into BMX racing – maybe one to look out for at the 2012 London Olympics? We’ll keep you updated with any news on this.

Sports psychologist Jamie Edwards (left) with launch host Richard Cunynghame

During the presentation, we heard from Commencal team psychologist Jamie Edwards, who hopes to give the team the racing edge. He said: “Gee beat himself up a bit too much last year. What I get athletes to do is to think differently.”

There are plenty of athletes at the same level, Edwards said, but to reach the next level “what I get athletes to do is to think differently. If they [the Athertons] raise their brand to the next level, they’ve got to think at the next level".

This impressive-looking team bus will be heading to every race this year. Look out for it!

The team had their latest race machines on display – the 2010 Team Supreme downhill bike and Meta 4X rig, complete with new baby-blue paintjobs and graphics – as well as their new signature edition Commencal MaxMax dirt jumper.

Both race bikes sport Fox forks with gold-coloured upper legs. This is due to a 'Kashima Coat' on the stanchions, which is said to reduce friction and improve the hardness and abrasion resistance of the aluminium. Forks with this coating will go on sale to the public later this year.

Rachel with her 2010 Commencal Supreme Team downhill bike (not in Wales, though!)

You can see Dan in action at the first round of the 2010 4X World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium on 1-2 May. Rachel and Gee will have to wait until the first World Cup downhill race of 2010 takes place in Maribor, Slovenia on 15-16 May to see whether their pre-season preparations have paid off.

If you can't wait that long, check out the team in action in their new video:

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