Mountain biker Lene Byberg has made the move to the GT Skoda Chamonix team for 2012. The Norwegian cross country racer won a World Cup in Bromont, Canada in 2009 and a silver medal at that same year's mountain bike Worlds in Canberra, Australia, but has suffered from illness and bad luck throughout 2010 and 2011.
"I'm excited. It's been two seasons that I accumulated bad luck, and I hope this is all behind me now. I hope to quickly find the top 10 this season," said Byberg to universalbikeracing.com.
Byberg's transition comes at the end of her contract with the Specialized Racing team. In 2011, she netted two World Cup podiums early in the season at Pietermaritzburg and Offenburg, but she finished it off by having to sit out Worlds after breaking her fibula during training.
The deal came about after a partnership between the US GT, GT Norway and GT Skoda Chamonix according to velovert.com.
"GT US and Norway had no structure to accommodate Lene. They turned to me, but I also needed them to balance the budget. Lene is a world-class athlete. There is a salary that goes with that," said Team Manager Adrien Pastor to velovert.com.
Byberg, 29, has her sights set on the 2012 London Olympic Games coming up in August. She's previously competed on the road in the Athens Olympics in 2004 and in mountain bike at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, with her best finish of 13th. She and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa are the most likely selections for Norway's 2012 Olympic mountain bike team.
Riding among French teammates will be nothing new for Byberg, who spends part of her winters in France training to escape the harsh weather of Norway. She is expected to race World Cups and some French Cups aboard a 29-inch GT Zaskar.
On GT Skoda Chamonix, Byberg will be teammates with Cécile and Cédric Ravanel, Fabien Canal, Julie Berteaux, Julien Trarieux and Fanny Bourdon. The team is expected to travel to South Africa in late February, race some early season contests and then participate in the opening World Cup in Pietermaritzburg.