Great Britain's Liam Killeen and Swiss brothers Lukas Flueckiger and Matthias Flueckiger will ride for the new cross country World Cup team sponsored by Trek Bicycles for 2009.
At 26 years-old, Liam Killeen is the senior rider of the program. A two-time Olympian, two-time U23 World Cup Champion and reigning Commonwealth Games champion, Killen finished fourth at the 2008 UCI World Championships. After a crash near the start of the Olympic mountain bike race in Beijing put him in last place, Killeen worked his way back up to seventh, logging lap times that would have put him in medal contention.
"I'm really excited to join this new and well supported program as I begin my long term preparation for the London Olympics in 2012," said Killeen. "I'm convinced that my training, coupled with the support of the team, will see my results continue to improve as they have been for the last half of the 2008 season. I'm also excited to have the Flueckiger brothers as teammates, we'll make a strong team."
Lukas Flueckiger, 24, had an impressive 2008 season with no less than three World Cup podium appearances, including a second place in Bromont in round seven, and a fourth place in Schladming at the finals. An injury earlier in the year kept him from a higher overall World Cup standing; he was ninth. Lukas heads into 2009 with the goals of placing more consistently in the top five of the World Cup events. He also hopes to win a World Cup in the next year or two and medal at the Olympics in 2012.
"I'm honoured to ride for this team," said Lukas.
Younger brother Matthias Flueckiger is considered by many to be a real superstar of the future. This 2006 Junior World Champion just turned 20 and already has a medal at the Under 23 World Championships. With another two years in that category, expect Matthias to be picking up more medals and titles in the near future. He has his sights set on the U23 World Cup title for 2009 and a top-15 finish in the World Cup's elite rankings. Matthias logged his first World Cup top 10 with a ninth place at the World Cup finals in Schladming.
"The way to the top of the world best mountain bikers is getting steeper," said Matthias. "Focusing on the details of training and preparation is getting more and more important. I hope to make a step forward to the top rankings of the cross country world."
"We're extremely excited to have these three amazing athletes on board," said Martin Whiteley, Team Manager. "I'm confident that in our first season of racing next year, we'll be challenging the more established teams for the title of number one men's XC team, as well as seeing some regular podium performances. These three riders will work brilliantly as a team."
The cross country team will race Top Fuel 9.9 SSL frames. The downhill squad will be announced later.