Giant have dramatically increased their mountain bike racing programme for 2010. The new Rabobank-Giant Off-Road team will focus on World Cup cross-country and cyclo-cross racing, bolstering the efforts of an expanded Giant Factory Off-Road Team.
Between the two teams, the company have assembled a diverse group of off-road athletes including Olympians, world champions and freeriders. According to Giant, each plays a critical role in the continued development and testing of their Maestro-equipped suspension bikes, XtC hardtails and TCX 'cross bikes.
With four full-time cross-country racers, including US Olympian Adam Craig, the Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team will become a year-round global operation in order to support the riders during the summer mountain biking season and fall and winter cyclo-cross races.
“From an athlete’s standpoint, it’s the ideal setup,” Craig said. “There are certain similarities between cross-country and cyclo-cross, and there’s always some athlete crossover between the two disciplines. So structuring it under one team makes sense.”
For the 2010 mountain bike season, Craig will be joined by a trio of talented young cross-country racers – Emil Lindren (Sweden), Fabian Giger (Switzerland) and Henk Jaap Moorlag (The Netherlands) – who are all under 25 and expected to rise through the ranks of World Cup competition.
“I’m thrilled Giant is stepping up its commitment through the new partnership with Rabobank on the off-road side of things,” Craig said. “Both brands have been committed to racing for a long time. It’s an honour for me to be a part of this new partnership.”
Giant Factory Off-Road Team expands
In addition to the new squad, the Giant Factory Off-Road Team is expanding for 2010. The roster includes two gravity racing talents who will compete on the World Cup circuit: two-time US downhill champion Duncan Riffle and 18-year-old Briton Danny Hart, 2009 junior World Cup winner and bronze medallist at last year's Junior World Champs.
Riffle, 23, is ranked 21st in the UCI world downhill rankings and looking forward to focusing on the most prestigious international downhill events. “I’ve always been a fan of Giant bikes and I can’t wait to hit the 2010 World Cup series on the new Giant Glory,” he said. “To be successful on the World Cup circuit you need the right equipment and the right support, and I know I’ll have that.”
The other Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider with a global agenda is 2008 Red Bull Rampage silver medallist Kurt Sorge. The 21-year-old Canadian has developed into a household name in slopestyle and freeride competition and will headline the biggest freeride competitions and films in 2010.
The four remaining Giant Factory Off-Road Team riders will have a Continental focus in 2010. One is Australian Jared Rando, a veteran Australian downhill and dual slalom racer who podiumed at both the Sea Otter Classic and Crankworx last year. Rando will focus on Australian and North American events, and will continue to play an important role in Giant’s product development efforts.
Familiar names make up the cross-country contingent of the team. Former US national champions Carl Decker and Kelli Emmett will each continue to focus on North American cross-country and Super D racing, and British Olympian Oli Beckingsale will compete primarily in UK and European cross-country events.
With two teams canvassing every major event in mountain biking, Giant look forward to their biggest year yet in off-road competition.
Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team
- Adam Craig (USA), XC, ST
- Fabian Giger (Switzerland), XC
- Henk Jaap Moorlag (The Netherlands), XC
- Emil Lindren (Sweden), XC
Giant Factory Off-Road Team
- Oli Beckingsale (Great Britain), XC, ST
- Carl Decker (USA), XC, ST, Super D
- Kelli Emmett (USA), XC, ST, Super D
- Danny Hart (Great Britain), 4X, DH, DS
- Jared Rando (Australia), 4X, DH, DS
- Duncan Riffle (USA), 4X, DH, DS
- Kurt Sorge (Canada), Freeride
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