With former world champion Danny Hart and with US Olympian and multiple-time national champion Adam Craig, the Giant Factory Off-Road Team is looking toward one of its most exciting seasons yet in 2013. The mountain bike team will focus on enduro, cross country and downhill events.
Enduro and cross country
On the enduro and cross country side, long-time Giant rider Craig is making the jump from the Rabobank-Giant team (now the Giant Pro XC Team), which focuses on World Cup cross country racing, to the Giant Factory Off-Road Team. Craig, who won the 2012 US super D title, is looking forward to a greater focus on enduro racing in 2013.
"I have a pretty sweet schedule lined up, pretty much hitting all the most interesting races out there," Craig said. "Enduros, cross country, all the types of events that most riders are stoked about these days."
Craig will be joined by fellow Oregon resident Carl Decker, the three-time defending champion of the Downieville All-Mountain World Championship, as well as Kelli Emmett, the current US women's super D national champion.
Australian Josh Carlson, a breakout talent on the enduro racing scene last year, rounds out the enduro/cross country arm of the 2013 team.
2011 world champion Hart returns to lead the downhill team. The 21-year-old Brit is looking forward to picking up where he left off after an injury cut his 2012 season short last summer. Hart scored three podium finishes and was fourth overall in the 2012 World Cup when a separated shoulder forced him to miss the final two World Cups and the world championships.
"I was disappointed to miss some races last year, but that's giving me more motivation this winter," Hart said. "I can't wait till that World Cup opener on my home turf in the UK. I'll be fired up and ready to go."
Andrew Neethling of South Africa joins Hart on the downhill team. He rode consistently well in 2012 with four top-10 finishes and a 12th-place overall.
New to the downhill squad this year is 22-year-old Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas, a four-time elite national champion in Colombia who finished 10th at the 2012 downhill world championships in Austria.
"This is a group of riders that's fun to watch," said Giant Global Marketing Director An Le. "They're champion racers, but they're also just amazing mountain bikers period. Our cross country racers are ripping downhillers, and our downhillers train with power meters. Their versatility and style reflects the progression of mountain biking, as well as the bikes and gear we develop for the everyday rider."
For World Cup downhill and gravity events, riders will compete with the Giant Glory and Reign X. Enduro and cross country riders will start the season on Anthem X Advanced 29er and Trance X 29er bikes, as well as XtC Advanced SL 29er hardtails. And as always, Factory Team riders will be involved in the development of new bikes and technologies, including prototype racing machines, throughout the season.
2013 Giant Factory Off-Road Team
Josh Carlson (Australia) - enduro, cross country
Adam Craig (USA) - enduro, cross country
Carl Decker (USA) - enduro, cross country, marathon
Kelli Emmett (USA) - enduro, cross country, marathon
Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Colombia) - downhill
Danny Hart (Great Britain) - downhill
Andrew Neethling (South Africa) - downhill