Under 23 German racer Manfred Reis signed with the Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup Team beginning in 2010 and running through 2012. Last year, when he was just 18, "Manne" drew attention to himself by becoming the youngest rider to win the Under 23 German cross country championships.
Reis joins the Austrian Under 23 Champion Simon Scheiber as the second young male rider on the team.
"I'm still young. At 19, I'm still two years younger than Simon. I have the possibility of learning from top stars on the team and benefiting from being in a professional environment," said Reis, who considers the Olympic Games to be a long-term goal, though he's not yet focusing on a particular year. "This is a perfect opportunity for me to develop as a rider."
Reis still has four years to race in the Under 23 category before he moves to the elites. "In the long term I want to establish myself in the elite category and achieve good World Cup results."
"Manne is not only one of Germany's biggest mountain bike talents, he is also a great guy. If he continues his improvement over the next few years, there is no reason why he cannot achieve his goals," said Team Director Jörg Scheiderbauer.
Reis committed to pursuing a mountain bike career in 2005, but that's not how he got his start in sports.
"Like most young guys, I grew up playing soccer," he said. "Eventually I had to decide on one sport, the choice fell to mountain biking. Here, the prospects were simply better. Now I am, of course, happy with my decision."
In 2010, Reis will attempt to defend his current Under 23 national cross country title. "It's my focus, of course, but it's never easy. The competition is very strong and now all eyes are on me. I will certainly give it my best to reach the top of my sport both nationally and internationally. I want to mix it with the best in the Under 23 National series, and finish under the top 20 at the Under 23 European and World Championships."
Reis is trained as a baker and continues to earn a living that way. "On extreme days, I go to the gym at night between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. before working from 1 a.m. until 10 a.m. in the bakery, followed by a training session on the bike, before I go to sleep. That is very stressful, but allows me to pursue my training."
Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed.