The 2011 Rabo-Giant Offroad team had its launch at the Omnisport Velodrome in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, last week during the World Track Championships (where, coincidentally, Marianne Vos was busy adding another title to her palmares).
The second-year squad has expanded to include two women: seven-time U.S. cyclocross champ Katie Compton, who also plans to race a full slate of MTB events and to take a run at the 2012 MTB Olympics, and Kiwi Rosara Joseph, who recently won a national MTB title of her own as well as the Oceania title. The addition of the women is due at least in part to the inclusion of women’s results to determine a team’s standings in the new UCI Elite Mountain Bike Team world rankings of 2011.
Also back on the team are Lars van der Haar, who won just about every possible U23 cyclocross title this past season, including Worlds, Dutch national, European championships, and the World Cup and Superprestige series overalls; U23 Worlds silver medalist Mike Teunissen; and American favorite, inaugural single speed cyclocross national champion and former MTB Olympian Adam Craig.
Katie’s husband, Mark Legg-Compton, was on the scene to capture some footage and give us a look at some of the festivities.
2011 Rabo-Giant Team Presentation Video:
The 2011 Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team was introduced Thursday evening during a presentation at the Apeldoom Omnisport Velodrome in The Netherlands, where the UCI Track World Championships are currently taking place.
The team is made up of riders focused on both cyclocross—including U23 World Champion Lars van der Haar—and cross-country mountain biking, including new recruit Katie Compton, the current U.S. short-track MTB champion and the No. 1 ranked female cyclocross rider in the world.
A balanced mix of young, developing talent, such as Junior XC World Champion Michel van der Heijden, and veteran stars like U.S. Olympian Adam Craig makes up the roster of 17 riders representing six different nations. This marks the second year for the team, which was launched in 2010.
“We achieved great success in our first year, which was better than our wildest dreams,” said Rabobank Cycling Manager Harold Knebel. “We are spreading our wings and reaching the top at the international level.”
The addition of Compton, plus current New Zealand National XC Champion Rosara Joseph, marks a new era for the team as it expands into elite women’s off-road racing for the first time.
“This year the rankings of the team’s top-three men and top-two women will count toward UCI team rankings,” said Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team Manager Jan ten Tusscher. “The continued expansion and globalization of our team played a key role in acquiring both Katie and Rosara.”
Giant, which has been a supporter of elite level mountain biking since 1995, continues with the Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team, which, with the addition of Compton and Joseph, starts the season ranked No. 3 in UCI Olympic XC rankings.
This team marks the latest development in Giant’s rich heritage of off-road racing, which dates back to 1995. The athletes, both cyclocross and mountain bike, continue to push Giant to develop the most forward-thinking off-road bikes, including Maestro Suspension bikes such as the Anthem X Advanced SL, and cutting edge composite bikes such as the XtC Advanced SL and the TCX Advanced SL cyclocross bike.
2011 Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team
Bart Aernouts (Bel)
Gert-Jan Bosman (Ned)
Adam Craig (USA)
Katie Compton (USA)
Emiel Dolfsma (Ned)
Fabian Giger (Swi)
Lars van der Haar (Ned)
Michel van der Heijden (Ned)
Rosara Joseph (NZ)
Jelmer Jubbega (Ned)
Gerben de Knegt (Ned)
Tim Lemmers (Ned)
Emil Lindgren (Swe)
Marco Minnaard (Ned)
Henk Jaap Moorlag (Ned)
Mike Teunissen (Ned)
Niels Wubben (Ned)