Feenstra, a Dutch environmental control company, and Kenda tires are backing a new pro mountain bike team for 2014. The Feenstra-Felt team is a blend of young international talent and more experienced professionals. Blaza Klemencic from Slovenia, Lisa Mitterbauer from Austria and Robby de Bock and Ruben Scheire of Belgium lead the team for this season.
Klemencic posted a second place at the European elite women's cross country championships and is a two-time Olympian. Scheire was second in the Belgian under 23 men's cross country national championship.
Other riders on the team include U23 men Thijs Zuurbier, Gosse van der Meer and Roy Beukers. The team expects to add one more rider from Scandinavia, but has not yet said who.
"This is a further milestone in the development of an exciting project," said Team Feenstra-Felt Manager Maarten Kemperman. "Feenstra-Felt demonstrates our expanding commitment to pro mountain bike racing as we build a truly world-class team."
The team's eight riders' long term goal is the cross country Olympic race in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil in 2016. As part of the initiative to get its riders to the Olympics, the team will work with professional trainer and former top triathlete Rob Barel and sports psychology consultant Bart Boogaard.
Sporting operations for the team will be managed by Robert Pintaric. "Robert brings many years of pro-sport experience into the team. With him we can further professionalize," said Team Manager Maarten Kemperman.
Klemencic has already begun her season on a positive note, with a second place finish at the four-day Lanzarote stage race in January.
For 2014, the Feenstra-Felt squad is licensed as a British team. Kemperman said the arrangement will allow his team to more easily participate in the British mountain bike series.
Look for the Feenstra-Felt squad at World Cup races, the German Bundesliga Series, the Sea Otter Classic and select marathon events such as the Worlds, the Trans Alp and Roc d'Azur.