Bike manufacturer Giant is looking to establish a stronger presence in mountain bike racing for this year, with the formation of the new Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team and the expansion of the Giant Factory Off-Road Team.
The two MTB teams now boast of an elite collection of Olympians and world champions, plus a powerful squad of free-ride stars. These riders will also be playing a major role in the testing and development of Giant equipment, particularly in the tough competitive environment of professional racing. Such equipment will include Maestro suspension bikes, XtC hardtails, and TCX cyclo-cross bicycles.
The Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team is the latest addition to Giant’s MTB lineup, with Olympic rider Adam Craig headlining the young squad together with Emil Lindren, Fabian Giger, and Henk Jaap Moorlag. Giant is looking to do a full-time racing schedule for its cross-country and cyclo-cross riders all throughout the season, with XC racing during MTB season and cyclo-cross in the fall and winter.
Adam Craig says that Giant’s setup is ideal for the riders, citing the similarities between cyclo-cross and cross-country racing. “There’s always some athlete cross-over between the two disciplines. So structuring it under one team makes sense.”
Giant is also beefing up its Factory Off-Road Team with two new additions to the roster. Two-time U.S. Downhill champion Duncan Riffle will be joining the team, as well as World Cup Downhill Junior champion Danny Hart. 23-year old Riffle currently holds the 21st spot in UCI world downhill rankings, and is looking forward to competing in the major international downhill events for this year.
Duncan Riffle is not the only one in the Giant Factory Off-Road Team who’s going for gold in the international events. Kurt Sorge, who won silver in the 2008 Red Bull Rampage, has established a name for himself in slopestyle and free-ride competition, and will be leading the team in the major freeride events this year.
Jared Rando from Australia will also be competing in downhill and slalom events in Australia and North America, while Carl Decker and Kelli Emmett (both former U.S. National champions) will be racing in the cross-country and Super D events in the U.S. Meanwhile, Olympian Oli Beckingsale will be focusing on the XC events in Europe and Great Britain.