The TX Active-Bianchi Mountain Bike team presented its 11 racers for the 2013 season in Bergamo, Italy, late last month. Young talents Gerhard Kerschbaumer and Alexander Gehbauer lead the elite and U23 squad, which is focusing long term on success at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
After his 2011 victories at the Italian and European U23 championships and the overall World Cup and Internazionali d'Italia series wins, the 21-year-old Kerschbaumer confirmed his potential in 2012 by winning the Italian U23 championships. He also won the Val d'Isere round of the World Cup and finished 13th at the London Olympic Games.
On the Hadleigh Farm Olympic course, just one U23 rider did better than Kerschbaumer: his new teammate Alexander Gehbauer. The Austrian rider moves into the elite ranks this year. In 2012, he earned two wins and a fourth place overall in the cross country World Cup, and he won the Austrian national championship.
Another newcomer on the team is Martin Gujan of Switzerland. Gujan made the move from the Cannondale Factory Racing team and will serve as a mentor to Kerschbaumer and Gehbauer.
The other elite/U23 racers on the 2013 team include all around rider Tony Longo, winner of four races in 2012; Leonard Paez; and Dennis Wahlqvist. Massimo Ghirotto will manage the team.
President Felice Gimondi explained his team's goals for the season. "We broke into the top 15 in the UCI ranking, and we are competitive against teams with huge budget compared to ours. We strengthened the team with the addition of Gujan and Gehbauer. The latter will work for the main goal of 2016 Olympics, as well as Kerschbaumer. We are aiming at bringing an athlete on the podium in Rio."
"Gujan is a strong and well-experienced rider who can support them smoothly. For this reason, Kerschbaumer will race the World Cup rounds in the elite series, to get some more experience. Further on, we have a complete rider like Longo both for cross country and marathon races, and the long distances specialist Paez. Simultaneously, we'll carry on the junior team's project, which gave us much satisfaction this winter in 'cross."
The TX Active-Bianchi junior team is made up of six riders: juniors Federico Barri, Cristian Boffelli and Chiara Teocchi; cadets Giorgio Rossi (2013 Italian 'cross champion) and Oscar Vairetti; and rookie Katia Moro (2012 Italian cross country champion).
The team will focus on major mountain bike competitions worldwide and Italian cyclo-cross races.
The elite and U23 riders will race Bianchi Methanol SL2, Methanol 29SL and the brand-new Methanol 29 full suspension.
Click here to view a gallery of images from the TX-Active Bianchi team presentation.