The 2011 Giant Factory Off-Road team boast a World Cup level roster for the coming season with the addition of key riders in both the downhill and cross-country disciplines. South African downhiller Andrew Neethling and five-time British cross-country champion Liam Killeen join a 6-rider squad led by 19-year-old World Cup downhill up-start Danny Hart.
“Our commitment to off-road racing at the highest level is a reflection of our broader commitment to the off-road cyclist,” said Giant Global Marketing Director An Le. “Working closely with this diverse group of athletes—from Olympic XC racers to Super D champions to top World Cup downhillers—keeps us ahead of the pack in developing new technologies that benefit off-road riders at all levels.”
Hart will lead the downhill squad. The British rider emerged as the world’s top young downhill racer last year. After winning the 2009 Junior World Cup title, Hart made a successful transition to the elites in 2010, racing to eighth overall in the World Cup series and an eighth place at the World Championships. He was the only top-10 rider under age of 20 and is widely recognized as the future of downhill racing. “I am super happy to be a part of the Giant program for the foreseeable future,” Hart said. “I had a great 2010 season, and this year is going to be better. I just want to go racing!”
Neethling is a consistent top-10 World Cup finisher and winner of the 2010 U.S. Open. He joins Hart and two-time U.S. downhill champion Duncan Riffle to complete Giant’s now formidable gravity program.
Giant’s cross-country team is headlined in the US by veteran Carl Decker, whose successful 2010 season on the Anthem X 29er included wins at several major U.S. events including the All-Mountain World Championships in Downieville, California, and the Super D at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. Kelli Emmett returns, as well, She is also a defending champion of the Downieville All-Mountain Worlds and will focus on a wide range of endurance events.
New to the cross-country team is British national champion Killeen, a two-time Olympian, who is aiming for his third Summer Games at London 2012.
“It’s easy to see that Giant is committed to cross country competition, and being on the right bike really can make the difference between victory and defeat when racing at the top of the sport,” Killeen said. “I’m confident I’ve made the right choice in Giant with products that can give me the edge.”
After six years with Shimano, the Giant Factory team will switch to SRAM. All Factory Team bikes will feature SRAM drivetrains, Truvativ components, Avid brakes and RockShox suspension.
Other new sponsors include DT Swiss wheelsets and Schwalbe tires, and Fox Head extends its commitment to the program by supplying kits and apparel.
“Both SRAM and Giant have a tremendous racing heritage, nationally and internationally,” said SRAM Global Marketing Director David Zimberoff. “With this season’s dynamic roster, we’re anticipating great results. This partnership is driven from two of the strongest and longest race-invested brands on the circuit today. It should be no surprise that two companies focused on product development and race wins would come together to back this team.”
Cross-country riders will race on Giant Anthem X Advanced SL and Anthem X 29er framesets, as well as XtC Advanced SL hardtails. For downhill, the team will rely on the Maestro-equipped Giant Glory frameset.
Craig continues with Rabobank-Giant’s Off-Road program
US Olympian Adam Craig will again race for the Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team in 2011.
Adam Craig will continue with the Giant sponsored Rabobank Off-Road program in 2011
Craig, one of America’s top cross-country racers, has ridden for Giant the past eight years. His top priorities in 2011 will be the UCI World Cup Series and the World Championships in Switzerland, building toward his goal of competing at the 2012 London Olympics.
“I’m looking forward to a full season after missing the first part of 2010 with an injury,” Craig said. “I’m really happy to have the support of the Rabobank-Giant team again for the World Cups and especially looking forward to July, when we have North American rounds. I’m also pretty stoked about Worlds in Champéry, [Switzerland], which has been a pretty good course for me in the past.”
The 29-year-old Craig also plays a key role in the development of Giant’s off-road bikes. The Maestro-equipped Anthem X Advanced SL bike he uses for most races was created with input and expertise gained from competing at the top levels of cross-country racing.
All of the Rabobank-Giant Off-Road team bikes are outfitted with Shimano components and Fox Racing Shox suspension.
2011 Giant Factory Off-Road Team
- Carl Decker (USA), XC, ST, Super D
- Kelli Emmett (USA), XC, ST, Super D
- Danny Hart (Great Britain), 4X, DH, DS
- Liam Killeen (Great Britain), XC, ST, Marathon
- Andrew Neethling (South Africa), 4X, DH, DS
- Duncan Riffle (USA), 4X, DH, DS