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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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The I.Idro Drain-Bianchi Mountain Bike Team
Kerschbaumer heads up Italian team with high ambitions
Under 23 world champion Gerhard Kerschbaumer heads up the 2014 I.Idro Drain-Bianchi Mountain Bike Team, which was recently presented at the Sala Viterbi in the Province of Bergamo, Italy. The Italian off-road squad was formerly known as TX Active-Bianchi.
One of seven riders on the team, Kerschbaumer will spend his first year in the elite ranks in 2014. In 2013, he won the Italian team relay at the Worlds and at the European Championships and he won the under 23 world championships plus his third Italian national U23 title. The young Italian rider has already had some experience racing among the elites last year in the World Cup. His best elite finish was a fifth place in Vallnord, Andorra.
Another cross country star on the team is Alexander Gehbauer. In 2013, Gehbauer took four victories, including his second consecutive triumph at Austrian national championships.
Leonardo Paez and Tony Longo compete in grand fondo and marathons. Last year, the Colombian Paez took 12 wins in Italy, Perù and Mexico, embellishing his showcase with a bronze medal at the marathon Worlds in Kirchberg, Austria. Longo scored seven successes on his own. In 2014, he will wear the Italian marathon champion's "tricolore" jersey conquered in Milo last September.
The i.idro Drain-Bianchi junior team is made up of Chiara Teocchi, Giorgio Rossi and Katia Moro. The team will race Bianchi Methanol 27.1 SL and Methanol 29 FS bikes.
Team President Felice Gimondi explained his team's goals for the new season.
"It will be hard to repeat 2013 results. Kerschbaumer moved into Elite series where it’s not easy to be competitive early. However, we rely on him and Gehbauer to make the top-five in some of the most important competitions: European champs, Worlds and World Cup."
"Paez and Longo’s presence, two among the best marathon riders, confirms our team's good level. We hope Paez will give an encore at the Worlds and Longo to take the same excellent results he scored last season. We'll go on taking a special care of our junior team: Teocchi and Moro are destined to compete alongside the best riders of the World, Rossi is born to win. As soon as his injuries are behind him, he will climb back to the top. He's got outstanding talent."