New Zealand's 2Stage Bikes are launching a new three-rider UCI World Cup trade team. The squad is made up of three up-and-coming British downhillers – Tom Deacon, Jess Stone and Alex Powell.
The 2Stage Factory Team will start their season at the Maxxis Cup round in Gouveia, Portugal, in March and go on to attend all World Cup, Maxxis Cup and UK NPS Downhill Series rounds.
They will ride the 2Stage Elite9 downhill race bike that we tested earlier this month with its unusual twin rear shock arrangement.
Tom Deacon has just come off one his best seasons – in 2008 he won the Pearce Cycles Series, Midlands Championships and English Championships, and ended up 10th in British Cycling's national rankings. Preparing for 2009 with an intense off-season training programme, he expects to maintain his race-winning momentum.
“I’m stoked to be working with 2Stage bikes this year," he said. "The bike is awesome. The first time out I knew this was it – it corners on rails and the 2Stage technology takes the bumps like they're nothing but pedals like a hardtail. It’s unreal! 2Stage is a tight-knit family and I’m excited to be a part of it – this season is going to be rad!”
Jess Stone's first World Cup race was at Schladming in Austria last year where she came 23rd – only eight seconds off qualifying. This will be Jess’s first season riding in the elite category after she won the juniors last year, along with the British National Championships, English Championships, Hamsterley Winter Series, Midland Series and Decision Downhill.
Alex Powell completes the team. 2009 will be the 17-year-old’s first year committed to full-time racing. He is looking forward to racing for 2Stage and broadening his experience in international competition riding along side Tom and Jess.