Specialized 29ers Roll into Champery

MORGAN HILL, California (August 31, 2011) -Heading into Champery, Switzerland, for the UCI World Championships, the Specialized Factory cross-country team is poised for a podium finish. Specialized athletes not only enter Champery with numerous elite victories under their belt from the 2011 season, but have also racked up several “firsts” of another kind.

Jaroslov Kulhavy raced the S-Works Epic 29 to the first-ever World Cup win aboard a 29er, which he followed by capturing the first World Cup overall championship to be won aboard a full-suspension bike. The Stumpjumper hardtail became the first 29er to win a World Championship, when Christophe Sauser added yet another Marathon World Championship title to his resume‘.

Specialized’s racing history runs deep, going back to the first World Championships in 1991, where Ned Overend won the inaugural event. The first and only full-suspension bike to win a Cross-Country World Championship is the Specialized Epic, which in 2011, is poised to become the first 29er to take the same honor.

The Specialized Factory team competes on the world’s most demanding racecourses. When it comes to having the right tool for the job, Specialized factory racers have the perfect bike to tame the terrain: once again proving “smoother is faster“.

Christophe Sauser (Switzerland) Racing the S-Works Epic 29– A veteran member of the factory team and three-time World Champion, Christophe brings a lot of racing knowledge to the squad. He is a rider that can never be counted out for a podium result, and racing in front of his home country in Champery, he’ll be sure to find a little something extra on race day.

“My third and last World Championships on home soil!” says Sauser. “This event is very special to me, and I am really looking forward to it. Although I know when “D-Day” comes closer the tension and pressure will be like a big backpack to carry. After I won Marathon Worlds my focus switched right away to XC Worlds in Champery, and my training started to be shorter and more intense. That means I am now doing shorter intervals, plus I am also riding very technical trails at home. The course in Champery is not easy! A lot of roots and rocks! Unfortunately, not much climbing, just a 2 minute gravel climb which is steep towards the end. I am pretty sure I am going to ride my Epic 29er, because of the course’s technical character. My Epic 29, together with my legs and head, will be the perfect combo to win a medal!”

Burry Stander (South Africa) Racing the S-Works Stumpjumper 29 Hardtail–“The Kid”, as he is known, has shown that he is able to battle at the front of a race and take control. He knows what it takes to win a World Championship, having won the U23 title in 2009 and finishing in 3rd place last year. Look for Burry’s characteristic, low and attacking riding style to have him running up front from the start.

“The Worlds is the biggest on our calendar, and my goal is to win my fifth medal in Champery,” says Stander. “I really like the track there, and I won my only World Cup on it in 2009. I’ve had good prep so far, and Specialized has us on the sweet new 2012 rides, which are perfect for the occasion!”

Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) Racing the S-Works Epic 29 – New to the Specialized Factory team this season, Jaroslov returns to Champery, the venue where he signed with Specialized last year. Jaroslov dominated the 2011 World Cup circuit, winning four rounds of the series, and captured the overall World Cup title, making him the fastest and most consistent country racer in the sport. His last World Cup victory took place in the Czech Republic, and was not only special because it was a win in his home country, it also gave him a chance to eye-up the competition to see who was riding strong going into the World Championships.

“The Champery course is nice and technical, with a lot of roots,” says Kulhavy. “There are two good uphills, and they’re not too long. That’s great for me! I think my 29er will be really fast on the long flat section at the beginning of the course. I had a strong season, winning the World Cup overall and the European Championship, so I’m relaxed going into the World Championships. If I won the World Championship this would be a dream season. It would feel so great to win the rainbow jersey, and that is my next goal. My conditioning is good, so I’m excited to see what happens in Champery!”

Todd Wells (USA) Racing the S-Works Stumpjumper 29 Hardtail– Representing the U.S.A. for the twelfth time at the World Championships, Todd is coming off an incredible season of domestic racing in U.S. He won the National Cross-Country title, and was recently victorious in the grueling 100-mile Leadville 100 race in Colorado. Wells is coming into Champery rested, and ready to don his National Champion jersey and battle for the honor of top American rider.

”I’m very excited for the World Championships in Champery this year!” says Wells. “It is a very technical course and I had a great race there last year on my Epic 29er. It is also the only chance to qualify for the US Olympic team this year, so I’m hoping my buildup will be spot on!”

Lene Byberg (Norway) Racing the brand-new carbon Fate 29 – Coming to the end of a up-and-down 2011 season, Lene is hoping it can all come together in Champery. A World Championships silver medalist in 2009, she is confident she can be a front runner in Switzerland. Along with capturing her second consecutive National Championship, Lene is also now racing the new Specialized Fate carbon 29—the world’s first women’s carbon 29er. She’s looking forward to racing the Fate on the challenging Champery terrain, and seeing her teammates have great success aboard their 29ers has given her a lot encouragement about the advantages of Specialized’s29ers.

“Doing well at Worlds is my biggest goal of the season,” explains Lene. “My fitness has been up and down lately, so it will be interesting to see if I can turn that into race form. I had good races earlier this year, so I know I still can be up there to fight for a medal. The course is good, technical and the soil is pretty similar to where I live in Norway. I`ll go directly to Switzerland from the World cup Final in Val di Sole, so I`ll have enough time to rest up for the race and train in the course on my Fate. I`m getting used to the bike, and I feel more comfortable on a 29er than I did earlier this season. I feel very good on Fate and I`m excited to ride it at Worlds! I have a feeling that Worlds this year will be a great day for Specialized!”

For exclusive videos and the latest news from Specialized Racing, visit iamspecialized.com

You’ve made your DH predictions–now how about your XC predictions?

Posted in: News, People

Trending on NSMB


Please log in to leave a comment.