Canadian-based MTB team Rocky Mountain Business Objects announced their full 2006 roster this week. At the core of the new squad is returning women's MTB phenom Marie Hélène Prémont and MTB's elder stateswoman Alison Sydor. Joining the two Olympic medal winners is a mix of young and established racers; a team that Rocky Mountain Business Objects team management says is built with an eye towards the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
2005 Canadian U23 National Champion, Max Plaxton, will return to the Pro team after a year racing on a European Squad. Plaxton showed great promise riding for the Rocky Mountain Business Objects team in 2004. In that year, he had multiple NORBA Podium finishes. He also had the best ever first year Under 23 (espoir) performances for a Canadian in World Cup, with two 14th place finishes at the Mont St Anne and Calgary World Cup events. Plaxton plans to focus on racing very competitively in North America and on helping Canada build ranking points towards the 2008 Olympic Games selections.
Joining the U23 National Champion, is 2005 Junior National Champion, Raphael Gagné. Gagné has signed through 2007 and will focus on Canadian National Races for 2006, with the World Championships as a main performance objective. Like Plaxton. Raphael brings with him a set of World Championship stripes as he was the junior member of the Gold Medal winning Canadian Relay Team in Les Gets 2004. Raphael and Max were teammates in taking that title.
Trans Rockies co-champion and 2004 U23 National Champion, Marty Lazarski of Ontario will return to the team as will Fred Bussières of Quebec and U23 women's National Champion Jean Ann McKirdy. Mc Kirdy has ridden for Rocky Mountain since 2001 when she came on board as a junior and won the gold medal in the 2005 Canada Games cross country and the bronze medal on the road for British Columbia. As it is her last year as a U23 rider, she will focus on the inaugural U23 title at the World Championships in New Zealand in August of 2006.
Two new young riders, Matt Hadley of New Brunswick and Meghan Kindree of Squamish, BC, who both saw the upper rungs of the Canada Cup podium in 2005 complete an exciting cross country squad.
German Riders and multiple Epic MTB Stage Race Champions Karl Platt and Carsten Bresser will return for another year. They will race the Cape Epic in South Africa, the Trans Alp Challenge at which they were collectively victorious in 2002 through 2005, and the Trans Rockies. Both will also compete in World Cup Marathon and XC.
Canadian Olympians Andreas Hestler and Lesley Tomlinson will take care of Team Management and Director positions. However, both will race in Epic stage races such as the Trans Rockies. Hestler will also aim at defending some Super D (cross country and downhill combination) victories.
The first event on the Team calendar for Marie Hélène Prémont is the Commonwealth Games in Australia, March 16 to 26. Prémont and Sydor will then race the first World Cup in the Caribbean on April 2 2006.The first race for the entire team is the North American season opener, the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey California, April 6 to 9. May 5 to 7 is the first NORBA National race in Fontana Hills, California after which the pro team will be off to Europe for the World Cup races in Madrid, Belgium and Scotland.