The Maxxis-Rocky Mountain World Cup team is coming to an end. For three seasons from 2009 to 2011, the team supported both downhillers and cross country riders on the World Cup circuit. Rocky Mountain Bicycles will continue to support its factory team while Maxxis will support several other World-Cup level teams.
"We need to be involved with everything from racing to free-riding and also with new projects like adventures and trips," said Rocky Mountain's Sports Marketing Manager Peter Vallance to Cyclingnews.
"We're looking to more participant-led marketing rather than only spectator-focused mountain biking. As a small company, we need to be efficient with where we spend our money."
The Rocky Mountain World Cup team was one of the only teams in the last decade to win both cross country and downhill World Cups and also one of the only teams to have podium performances in men's and women's cross country and World Cups in the same season.
Some notable highlights of the team's three-year run are French downhill star Sabrina Jonnier's eight World Cup wins and two World Cup overall titles, and Geoff Kabush's World Cup win in Bromont, two Canadian National titles, and multiple US Pro XCT wins. The team also reached the World Cup podium several times with Marie-Hélène Prémont and saw Cameron Cole develop into one of the best male downhill racers in the world.
In 2012, Rocky Mountain will continue to support the Rocky Mountain Bikes Factory XC & DH Team, led by 2012 Olympian Prémont (MHP) and featuring Canada's brightest young talent. Prémont is finishing off a two-year contract with Rocky Mountain, which will see her through the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The other World Cup team riders will not continue with the factory-level squad.
The Rocky Mountain Factory Team is focusing more on Canadian racing and is backing three under 23 development riders for the 2012 season including national champion Leandre Bouchard, Evan Guthrie and Jeremy Martin. Guthrie won an elite race at a round of the Canada Cup this season. The former 'cross and cross country champion is recovering from having had mono last year.
Chris Sheppard and Andreas Hestler will continue to race for the Factory Team.
"We're really excited about how the Factory Team is shaping up for next year. Rocky Mountain has a long history of developing Canada's best mountain bike athletes, and 2012 will be no different. We want to make sure we own our home turf."
Maxxis will continue to sponsor the Rocky Mountain Factory Team and its Freeride team.
Rocky Mountain remains committed to its world-renowned freeride athletes in 2012. Returning for his 14th year with Rocky Mountain is the Godfather of Freeride, Wade Simmons. Last month, Wade capped off a busy 2011 season by filming for Anthill's new feature movie, Strength in Numbers in Switzerland. Finishing 5th at the 2010 Redbull Rampage, and 5th at 2011 RedBull Joyride, Rocky Mountain's Geoff Gulevich had his best season to date and is currently hard at work in the Utah Desert working on a special project. 2012 will mark Gulevich's fifth season with Rocky Mountain.
Big Mountain freeride superstar Thomas Vanderham will also be flying the Rocky Mountain flag in 2012. With two feature movies coming out in the next six months, Vanderham will be busy with filming and appearances.
Last but not least, Brett Tippie will be part of the Rocky Mountain freeride family in 2012, bringing his crazy riding and irresistible charm wherever he goes.
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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.