European Champion, two Silver Medals at the World Championships, one silver medal at the European Championships, not to mention the National Titles – just a few of the results which the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team banked this year on Canyon Bikes. The totals which the team may boast of are 38 podiums – made up of 20 wins, 15 second places, and 3 third places. There were also one World Cup win and two course records.
2014: new Priorities for Topeak-Ergon
Topeak-Ergon Racing Team moves their focus to endurance with the signing of the Czech rider Kristian Hynek for the 2014 season. The rider, who in 2012 was the European Marathon Champion and 3rd at the World Championships joins the current European Marathon Champ, Alban Lakata and the German National XCO Champion Robert Mennen. The idea being to assemble undoubtedly the strongest endurance team in professional mountain biking. On the women’s side of racing, with Sally Bigham at the helm, things have been looking that way for a while, she is without doubt the most successful female mountain biker in these categories over the past couple of years.
“He was my favourite choice from all the applicants”
Hynek joining the team is something which Alban Lakata himself argued for. ”Kristian is one of the best Marathon racers in the world,” the clearly delighted Austrian explained,”I think that his abilities and his personality fit perfectly within our team. He was my favourite choice from all the applicants.” It wasn’t only Team Topeak-Ergon who were interested in signing Hynek, but the German team was also Hynek’s first choice.”I am positive that I have made the right move,” the 33 year old endurance rider said,”it is certainly a big step forward into the premiere league of my sport. I am extremely proud to say that I am a part of this team.”
As a result of the change of focus to Marathon/Endurance, the Cross Country side of the team will be downplayed, specifically with the departure of Irina Kalentieva. She leaves the team after an amazing seven years. This splitting of paths was not something done lightly, particularly on the back of such a long partnership and the numerous challenges and victories which Ira and Topeak-Ergon have faced together. Ergon will continue to work with Kalentieva and remain committed and grateful to her, however with the results in the Marathon/Endurance category from this last year a change of direction is logical.
”Up until now we have been fighting a battle on two fronts, at the top level of Cross Country, as well as Marathon”, explained RTI’s founder and CEO Franc Arnold,”however in the future we plan to continue to invest in the sport, but it is clear that marathon and endurance is a better fit to our brand.” It isn’t completely the end for Topeak-Ergon in Cross Country, as Wolfram Kurschat will continue to race, however he will be moving to a more ’ambassador’ based role for Ergon as well as other responsibilities.
Other changes are that Nadine Rieder (24) and Milena Landtwing (32) will leave the team at the end of the year.
We wish everyone all the best for the 2014 season.