Mountain biking’s most famous family have revealed their new kit and sponsors for 2009. Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton will continue to ride under the name Animal Commencal, but car company Nissan has come onboard as a major backer.
The team’s new look is inspired by Animal’s summer collection, with the lightning bolts of 2008 replaced with the sports brand’s famous check.
Commencal have given the Athertons’ Supreme DH downhill bikes a matching makeover, with a slightly modified frame for the new season. They will run race tuned Fox 40 forks and DHX RC 4 shocks, with Shimano Saint gears and brakes.
Shimano-owned accessories brand PRO will supply handlebars, stems, saddles, seatposts and grips. The Athertons will work with PRO on a signature line of products which will be launched at the Eurobike show in August.
Nissan is the team’s major new ‘off-bike’ sponsor, and the deal will see the Athertons using the company’s Navara and Pathfinder vehicles. Also, both Rachel and Gee will join Dan on the Nissan Sports Adventure Programme.
Gee is hoping to continue the winning streak which saw him crowned 2008 world champion
Team director Dan Brown said: “2008 was a fantastic year which saw the Animal Commencal team pick up a triple win [at the World Cup round] in Andorra, followed by the two rainbow jerseys in Italy and a World Cup title in Austria. Hopefully our new kit and partners will help make 2009 even better.
“With Animal and Commencal‘s continuing support we can really start to focus on our main goals for the year. The World Championships and World Cup overall remain the main competitive goals but we also aim to get people excited about our sport and in turn get more people on bikes.
“The development work with Shimano and Fox has had a direct benefit to our results and this is something we are getting more involved with this year. Winning can come down to such a small margin that the R&D work behind the scenes really does make the difference. We are just thankful the team we have behind us is on our side!”
The Athertons will be running a slightly modified Supreme DH downhill frame this year
Jean-Pierre Diernaz, general manager of Nissan’s marketing communications in Europe, said: “Nissan is pleased to welcome the Atherton family to our Nissan Sports Adventure athlete team and we look forward to following their progress in the Nissan UCI World Cup and UCI World Championships. The Atherton family are at the pinnacle of both the men’s and women’s mountain biking circuit, and they embody the inspirational spirit that has helped to increase the interest and engagement with mountain biking. We wish Dan, Gee and Rachel the best of luck this season.”
The Athertons are also supported by the following: Fibrax brake pads; Red Bull energy drink; eThirteen chain devices; Cycleops turbo trainers; Oakley eyewear; SixSixOne protection; SAQ International gym products; Neoguard mudguards.
For more on the Athertons in 2009, check out www.animalcommencal.com.
Dan’s goals are to win the 4X World Cup and World Champs, and be in the top 10 in downhill