Marathon MTB world champion and number one of women's cross-country racing Jolanda Neff has signed a contract with Polish MTB outfit Kross Racing.
The Swiss rider, who spearheaded Stöckli Pro-Team in mountain biking and occasionally took part in select road events with Servetto Footon, made the switch and in 2017 will be racing alongside her old teammates from Giant Pro XC Team, Maja Wloszczowska and Fabian Giger.
"I am more than excited to join the Kross Racing Team. Maja and Fabian have already been my teammates in the past and I have nothing but great memories with them. I am really looking forward to working together with the whole team," Neff said in a team's press release.
Kross Racing Team is a Polish MTB team founded in 2013 and most recently built around double Olympic silver medalist in cross-country racing, Maja Wloszczowska. Sponsored by Poland's bike manufacturer Kross, the team also features Fabian Giger and current Polish cross country champion Bartlomiej Wawak.
"I was already in a team with Jolanda two years ago and we became good friends. She is 10 years younger than me but very mature. As an athlete I believe that with a bit more experience she will soon be unbeatable. She is the most talented MTB rider I've ever met and will certainly put pressure on me to keep up the pace," Wloszczowska said.
At only 23 Neff's palmares includes two overall wins in women elite cross-country World Cup (2014 & 2015), as well as triumphs in eight rounds of the series, most recently in La Bresse and Vallnord. The Swiss rider also took two gold medals at the European MTB Championships (2015 & 2016), claimed gold at Baku European Games (2015), and has three World Champion titles to her name in under-23 women's cross-country (2012-14).
This year Neff attempted to combine racing on the road and in cross-country events, having the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in mind. She finished third in Trofeo Alfredo Binda and 10th in Fleche Wallonne, won Tour de Pologne Feminin, while off road she claimed a World title in marathon MTB, European title in cross-country, two World Cup wins and placed 8th in World Championships in Nove Mesto, topping the UCI cross-country ranking.
In Brazil she finished 6th in the women's cross-country event after an early charge and 8th in elite road race, crossing the line in Elizabeth Armitstead's group, 20 seconds behind victorious Anna van der Breggen.