New Zealand's Sam Blenkinsop, one of the youngest riders to hit the World Cup circuit, signed a two-year deal with the Yeti / Fox Shox Factory Team.
The young Blenkinsop emerged on the scene at the World downhill championships in 2005 in Italy, where the skill and riding style of the then 16 year-old stood out on the challenging Livigno course. The following year, Blenkinsop took the world racing scene by storm with silver medal on his home turf at the 2006 UCI World Championships in Rotorua as a junior, even after an over-the-handlebar crash. More recently, he finished ninth in the elite ranks at the 2007 UCI World Championships in Fort William, Scotland. He was in the top 25 of the World Cup overall rankings within his first year of turning pro.
"Yeti has a long legacy of grooming young talent," said Yeti's president Chris Conroy. "Sam is a very exciting rider and we are looking forward to see him progress to the top ranks of the sport."
Just last week, Blenkinsop proved he's off to a good start for 2008 when racing head-to-head with team-mate and compatriot Justin Leov in the New Zealand North Island Downhill series. The pair will wrap up racing in New Zealand and then head off for the World Cup series.
"With team-mates like Jared and Justin," said Blenkinsop, "I'm going to learn heaps this year, can't wait to get racing on the new rig."
Joining Blenkinsop and Leov will be Jared Graves (Aus) and Ross Milan (USA) on the global team and Rich Houseman (USA), TJ Sharp (USA), Chris Boice (USA), and Rudy Unrau (USA) on the US-based national-level squad.