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Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon)
Last MTB World Cup round winner Kalentieva searches for new team
In recent years, the Topeak-Ergon team has supported a mountain bike team that competed in both cross country and marathon racing. However, for 2014, the international squad is dropping its cross country program to focus on marathon-type racing, the discipline where it has lately been the most successful.
That means that two-time cross country world champion and final 2013 World Cup round winner Irina Kalentieva of Russia, who was a member of the team for seven years, will not be able to stay with Topeak-Ergon and neither will eliminator specialist Nadine Rieder according to AcrossTheCountry.net.
Topeak-Ergon is going with marathon racing because it believes the discipline supports its brand better than the cross country racing program.
There are unconfirmed reports that Kalentieva will still race under Ergon sponsorship, but as part of a Russian team while Rieder will race for a German team. Cross country rider Wolfram Kurschat is still under contract for 2014.
In shifting its focus to marathon racing, Topeak-Ergon has has signed marathon specialist Kristian Hynek of the Czech Republic for two years, starting in 2014 according to SoloBike.it. While riding for Elettroveneta Corratec this year, Hynek earned the bronze medal at the European marathon championships, won the AlpenTour Trophy and won the Dolomiti Superbike.
In addition to signing Hynek, former marathon world champion Alban Lakata, Robert Mennen and Sally Bigham are expected to remain with the Topeak-Ergon while another marathon rider Milena Landtwing is departing.
Look for the Topeak-Ergon to make its 2014 debut at the Andalucia Bike Race in February and then the Cape Epic in March. Lakata and Hynek are expected to partner together for both two-person team type stage race events.