Batty switches to Subaru-Trek team

Emily Batty and Willow Koerber have effectively switched teams for the 2011 season. The Canadian Batty, who has been riding for Trek World Racing, will compete for Subaru-Trek next year while the American Koerber has moved from Subaru-Trek to Trek World Racing.

"Trek World Racing was great," said Batty. "With Subaru-Trek, I'll continue to get the best possible support. Also, Subaru-Trek offers a family feel. Being around that collection of riders who are all at the top of their game will be very motivating."

While the transfers weren't orchestrated as a swap, the moves should benefit both women. "It's worked out well for both teams," Travis Ott of Trek Bikes told Cyclingnews. "Willow wanted to focus on international World Cup racing while Emily is graduating from the Under 23 ranks and wanted a program that will offer World Cups and domestic racing. The scopes of the programs were ideal for each rider."

Trek World Racing concentrates on international events, such as World Cups, while Subaru-Trek does some international events, but also maintains a strong domestic presence.

"We want to be the top North American team out there," said Ott of the Subaru-Trek team. "Consistently year in and year out, we are. We have an accomplished roster of riders, and we're also proud that our roster includes riders with diverse talents. We are well rounded."

Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (JHK), Heather Irmiger, Sam Schultz and Russell Finsterwald are all returning to the Subaru-Trek team for 2011.

JHK and Irmiger are the current US marathon national champions, and JHK also had a strong performance at Leadville this year, finishing second to Levi Leipheimer and finishing faster than Lance Armstrong's record time from the previous year. Sam Schultz is a World Cup regular who just completed La Ruta de los Conquistadores mountain bike stage race and the young Finsterwald, a University of Colorado freshman, is working his way up the cross country ranks.

In 2011, the team will continue to focus on World Cups, the Pan Am Games and US National Series races, with an eye toward chasing UCI points, which play an important role in Olympic team selection. "Riders on the team are sitting well for representing their respective countries at the Olympic Games," said Ott, referring to JHK and Irmiger for the US and Batty for Canada.

Toward the end of the season, the riders will mix in some other events such as Iceman, a point-to-point cross country race. They may also squeeze in the Teva Mountain Games mid-summer.

2010 was a big year for the squad. "We changed from being Subaru-Gary Fisher to Subaru-Trek," said Ott. "Gary [Fisher] is still heavily involved in this program. We've been the 29er team." The first race after the re-branding, Schultz had a break out performance, winning his first US Pro XCT in Wisconsin.

Another highlight for the team was the performances of Koerber and Irmiger at Worlds. "Willow took a third and Heather had the ride of her life. After getting balled up early on, Heather came back and finished sixth with fast lap times. She's looking strong for the World Cups next year."

2011 will mark the 11th year of title sponsorship by Subaru.

Subaru-Trek for 2011
Emily Batty
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski
Heather Irmiger
Sam Schultz
Russell Finsterwald

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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.