Tereza Hurikova will join Specialized Racing for this season, adding to an already strong roster. She joins Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy, Japanese national champion Kohei Yamamoto and US national champions Todd Wells and Lea Davison. After a highly successful 2012 season, Specialized Racing is well positioned to continue its winning ways on the elite cross country UCI World Cup race circuit.
"After another highly successful 2012 race season capped off by winning the coveted title of 'World Cup MTB Team of The Year', expectations are high for another stellar season," said David Hyam, Sports Marketing Director for Specialized.
Czech Hurikova is a former junior world champion who is transferring from the Sabine Spitz Haibike Team. "Entering into this great team is a dream come true," said Hurikova. "I look forward to focusing on the races and am excited to know I'll have the best bikes and support available on the circuit. This is a step in the right direction, and I believe I can achieve great results with Specialized."
Notably absent from the World Cup oriented team is defending Cape Epic champion and 2011 Marathon World Champion Christoph Sauser, who is transitioning to a full international marathon race calendar.
"It was time for a change!" said Sauser. "Cross country racing only got shorter, and I got older... it's not a good combo. In the past, I always enjoyed racing marathons, and now I am ready for the complete switch."
"Not having the winning results in cross country lately also helped me to change my goals. Waiting for days in hotel rooms just for a 1.5km circuit race started to pull on my nerves. Now I am so excited to go for the big laps, where I will find more adventure and new places. My focus will be on the Cape Epic and world championships, but also TransAlp, 4Peaks and the Classics towards the end of the season."
Another notably absent rider is Burry Stander, a former Specialized Racing team rider who was killed in an accident while training on January 3.
Hyam said, "With the recent tragic loss of one of the sports true Iicons as well as a rider who played such an integral part of our Specialized Racing Team, the determination and enthusiasm within our riders burns brighter and stronger than ever before. Emotions are high, and I know that each and every team rider will have Burry's memory foremost in their minds as the season begins in earnest."
For the 2013 season, the men will be racing aboard S-Works Epic 29ers, and the women aboard S-Works Fate 29ers.