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Chainel signs with BH SR Suntour Peisey Vallandry MTB Team

French 'cross national champion Lucie Chainel-Lefevre

French 'cross national champion Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Image credit: Fabrice Lambert)

Newly crowned French cyclo-cross national champion Lucie Chainel will step back into the world of mountain bike racing in 2012 at the opening World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Chainel has signed for the BH SR Suntour Peisey Vallandry Team, although she will race the first World Cup in French National Team colors due to her lack of UCI points in the discipline.

After winning gold at French cyclo-cross nationals, Chainel announced her return to mountain biking with the BH SR Suntour Team.

"I am glad I signed with them. It is not just any team. I started mountain biking at the age of 10. I stopped in late 2005 because I was fed up of the bike. Mountain biking requires a lot of sacrifice in training, more than in cyclo-cross," Chainel told

Chainel will have to catch herself up not only on training but on the changes in mountain bike technology since she left the sport.

"I am aware that the discipline has evolved, but I think it has changed for the better."

She plans a break in racing after the 'cross season to refresh her outlook and re-find her legs on a mountain bike.

She will be teammates with 2011 World Cup overall winner Julie Bresset. The two have been on the same team in the past. She also told that she'd be getting some advice from Olympic champion Julien Absalon, who lives nearby.