Cécile and Cédric Ravanel are changing directions for the coming 2013 season. After focusing primarily on Olympic cross country racing for years, the mountain bike couple is expanding their schedule of races beyond the discipline of cross country to include more enduros, eliminators and stage races.
"We'll do 50% cross country type races, 30% enduros and extreme events, and the remaining 20% will be press presentations and VIP days," said the Ravanels in an interview with velo101.com.
They listed some of the races on their calendar: a cross country round of the Coupe de France, several rounds of the Enduro World Series, a freeride festival in Colorado, the Mega Alpe d'Huez, a few eliminator World Cups and the All Mountain World Championships.
"It'll be a nice program with almost a month on the North American continent."
The two pros are coming off a tough 2012, a season they called difficult mentally, but not physically. Neither rider made the French team for the Olympic Games.
Although the GT Skoda Chamonix team is likely ending for 2013, the Ravanels plan to keep racing with the support of some of their long-time individual sponsors such as Skoda and Chamonix. "We cannot talk about the explosion of the GT team," they told velo101.com. "All partners have honored their contract and on our side, we have represented [the team] until the end of the season. The fact is that the Olympic cross country has lost a bit of speed in 2013. This has reinforced our choice to do enduros after the Olympic year."
At 31 and 34 years old respectively, both riders are neither thinking of retirement nor speculating on how many years remain in their pro careers.
"Whatever happens, we remain passionate about mountain biking, and it is true that after this season, the pleasure of going about in 4km circles is lost. Olympic cross country remains in our eyes the pinnacle of mountain biking, but so demanding that a single bit of bad luck can turn into nightmare. We want to follow our passion and race at high level next year, our priority will the enduro."
The Ravanels' shift in focus comes at a time when enduro racing is growing in popularity worldwide. Just last week, the all-new Enduro World Series was announced for 2013.