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Absalon extends contract with Orbea

Orbea Team Manager Ixio Barandiarán and Julien Absalon shake hands upon the renewal of Absalon's contract for three more years.

Orbea Team Manager Ixio Barandiarán and Julien Absalon shake hands upon the renewal of Absalon's contract for three more years. (Image credit: Team Orbea)

French mountain biker Julien Absalon extended his contract with his Orbea Racing Team for three more years, through the London Olympic Games in 2012. The rider and his team signed the agreement during the Roc d'Azur mountain bike race in France this past week.

"I love being with Orbea. They offer me reliability, the best bikes and a great team. I want to stay here until I retire," said Absalon.

"Orbea's offer has always been excellent, and I'm sure I couldn't be better off anywhere else. I believe in the Orbea people and they've shown me that they believe in me," said Absalon.

Team Manager Ixio Barandiarán gave a press conference together with Absalon to announce the news."He's the best biker and part of the family now. He not only wins races. He's also involved in developing the bikes, and he's an icon for us," said Barandiarán.

Absalon has won two Olympic cross country races, one in Athens, Greece, in 2004 and another in Beijing, China, in 2008. He is already looking ahead to the next Olympics in London. "I'm going for my third Olympic gold medal, and I want to win the World Championships again. I've got some very important challenges before me, and I'm motivated to go all out for them."

Absalon has won the World Championship cross country four times, most recently in 2007. He withdrew from the 2008 worlds and finished second to Nino Schurter in the 2009 worlds, however, he claimed the 2009 World Cup overall win, his fourth consecutive such title.

The French star is clearly happy at Orbea. "I want to stay here until the end of my sporting career. Helping to create bikes, and perhaps after I retire, I'll dedicate myself to endurance cycling, which I really like." Along those lines, he'll be taking part in the Megavalanche on Reunion Island this December, as he does every year.

Absalon has been with the Orbea team since 2006.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.