TREAD joined local and international colleagues for three days to ride with and meet the latest teaming of SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing, who chose Stellenbosch as a platform for their presentation and a base for pre-season training.
With two Olympic Champions and current World Champion the “World’s No. 1 XC MTB Team” takes off into a new era with a strong set-up. Presenting new team members and partners just prior to Cape Epic. Along with a newly designed website, scott-sram.com
Just four days prior to the start of Absa Cape Epic Mountain bike stage race in South Africa’s Cape region, Olympic Champions Jenny Rissveds and Nino Schurter along with the rest of team SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing kicked-off their 2017 season at a three-day media camp in nearby “Bike Mecca” Stellenbosch. Revealing both their short-term plans for the World’s toughest stage race and their long-term vision for the next four years, the team gave an inside look to the invited local and international cycling press.
With new riders and sponsors including Swiss Matthias Stirnemann, with a UCI World ranking no. 5, he will not only be a strong addition to the World Cup races but also ride aside Nino Schurter at this year’s Cape Epic, one of the team’s highlights of the 2017 season.
Matthias Stirnemann said “For me it’s a dream came true- joining the World’s number one XCO Mountain bike team and racing alongside two Olympic Champions is indeed
a privilege. My preparation for the 2017 season was pretty intense and I can’t wait to kick it off together with Nino Schurter. We had a lot of fun training together in South Africa. The spirit in the team is absolutely unique, the bikes we ride with and the tech support are outstanding. I’d say we’re as ready as it gets in order to race a successful season.”
Jenny Rissveds talked about her overwhelming impressions and the enormous impact her Olympic Champion status brings to her normal life: “My life changed completely from one day to another. The attention you get as an Olympic Champion is huge. I am overwhelmed by the amount of good vibes and messages I get from bike lovers all over the world, especially young women riders.” Being a great inspiration for them is something the 23 year old Swede is extremely proud of. “But I am also aware of the huge ambassador role I have now”
Rissveds continues. “I am super excited about heading into the new race season. Not only because we are kicking it off at Cape Epic with the entire team, but even more as I`ll be racing the World Cup as an Olympic Gold medalist. This is very special and I am looking forward to a year which is packed with great events and a lot of highlights. The XCO Elite Worlds in Cairns, Australia will definitely be my personal one.”
Looking at the sport side of things, Rissveds says: “I did not define specific goals as this past year with two World Champion titles and two Olympic Gold medals is virtually impossible to better. However, there are more than results in mountain biking- continuity for instance. I`ll focus to achieve solid performances throughout the season with hopefully one or another podium finish. I know the best team and the best teammates with a great spirit are around me- that’s literally “Gold”, too and means a lot to me.”
Nino Schurter reaffirmed the commitment, saying “Mountain bike racing at the
highest level needs strong partners with innovative product management and support. We’re glad to know the best brands of the bike industry are on our side for the next years. Personally, I want to defend my World Champion title this season again. To win World Cup races of course is what I am focused on mostly- not only in this coming season, but also on a long-term perspective. I`m sure we’ll see more exciting battles with Julien Absalon, but also with other strong guys.”
“With the Cape Epic stage race coming up, we`ll look into a great team adventure again. This race is one of the most brutal things mountain bikers can experience. I`m looking forward racing it with my new team mate Matthias Stirnemann, who is in a brilliant shape.”
Team sponsors and partners, the most noticeable change other than the title pairing with SRAM, is a total commitment to RockShox for suspension and the appointment of Maxxis as a tyre sponsor, which we at TREAD feel will result in some new R&D partnership.
SRAM has been a great partner of the team since the very beginning in 2002. SRAM has committedfor a four year partnership through 2020. Now as a title sponsor, the partnership includes RockShox as the suspension partner as well.
The team has relied on fast wheels from DT SWISS for many years. The SCOTT Spark and Scale RC 900 World Cup bikes are now equipped with SYNCROS components. The choice of tires is MAXXIS. Nino already won the Olympic race on MAXXIS and with this strong brand there is for sure a great potential for developing great tires for the future. It has been many years now that the team is equipped with ODLO clothing on and off the bike. Also remaining as a long time sponsor is the Swiss credit card company CORNERCARD.
Alex Rafferty, SRAM PR & Marketing says: “From a SRAM perspective, we’re super excited to be further aligning ourselves with the most powerful, inspirational and decorated team in Cross Country racing. A team of current champions, and without a doubt future champions.”
“Jenny just told a great story about why she has such a passion for mountain biking. She loves to inspire riders, especially the younger generation who reach out to her. That passion for inspiring people is exactly what we stand for at SRAM. And, it’s the value and strength at the heart of both of our teams.
Cross country (XCO) racing has always, and will always be one of the cornerstones of our passion for mountain biking. It’s a discipline that encourages people into the sport. It’s the local series in your region back home, the national series in each country, the World Champs, and the Olympic Games. It’s the Formula One of our sport. We’re fully committed and 100% behind the SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing Team.”