JHK, Irminger, Koerber, Ross and others renew
By Sue George
Subaru-Gary Fisher announced its 2007 roster. The team's core will return; Jeremy Horgan Kobelski, Nat Ross, Heather Irmiger, Willow Koerber, Jenny Copnall, Ken Onodera, Asa Erlandsson, and Dror Pekatch have renewed their contracts. New riders for 2007 include current U23 US champ, Sam Schultz, and Great Britains Phil Spencer.
Next year's team is looking to build on past success. In 2006, Horgan-Kobelski captured the overall NMBS cross country title in the US, and Ross pulled in the overall National Point Series 24 hour solo title in addition to finishing the Race Across America (RAAM).
Ross told Cyclingnews, "I'm very excited for the upcoming season. The team is a perfect fit for me, but I fill a different role on the team than the others." Ross, who races a 29er, visits many ultra-endurance and grassroots events while other members of the team target shorter-duration cross-country races, often on an international level. He has been a team member for five years, longer than anyone else on the squad.
Horgan-Kobelski's wife, Irmiger, and Koerber round out the American women's roster. Irmiger finished second overall in the NMBS Series that included a first place finish at the Brian Head NORBA series race for a second straight year and a first at Deer Valley NORBA series race. Koerber looks to build on her international momentum from 2006. She finished as second overall American in the World Cup series and fifth overall in the NMBS standings in 2006.
In fact, the Subaru-Gary Fisher team has two divisions: a National Team and a Global Team. The National Team will race largely in North America with a focus on the US National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS), World Cups, premier domestic events, and select international races.
On the global side, Copnall won the British womens overall cross country title. She returns to Subaru-Gary Fisher for her fourth season after finishing as the British National XC Champion, British National Marathon Champion, British National Points Series Champion and ranked first in the British National Rankings. Her teammate Asa Erlandsson took the Swedish womens overall marathon win in 2006.
23-year-old Spencer was the third-ranked British cross-country racer on the UCI circuit in 2006. The 21-year-old, Japanese Onodera, Swedish Asa Erlandsson, and Israel's Dror Pekatch round out the men's Global team.
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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.