The Strive Diaries: Entry 0 – Training Camp South France

  March 28th, 2014 | 17:24 | Onlineredaktion

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“Last season couldn’t have started any better for the Canyon Factory Enduro Team when we won the first round of the Enduro World Series in Punta Ala. But beyond this, we made it clear to everyone throughout the season that we belong right at the very top of the sport. Competing on the pro scene is not a walk in the park, which was something we learnt at every event. All kinds of emotions, from joy to suffering come thick and fast alongside countless unforgettable moments.

To give our fans and anyone interested in Enduro a chance to look behind the scenes and get involved in what we do, we’ve created the “Strive Diaries”. You’ll get instalments from the team after every round of the Enduro World Series as well as other events. Get ready to take on the season with us!” Flo Goral, CFET Team Manager

The Canyon Factory Enduro Team often feels more like a family than a team, so when we all got back together it felt a lot like a Christmas family reunion, even though we were there for some serious pre-season training and testing. Of course we also had a whole load of new team bikes and other cool stuff to dole out as well, so in that sense it was a bit like Christmas…

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“Well on my side it’s really important getting together at the beginning of the season just to create synergy and team spirit for the season being able to support each other. Racing and competition is always tough but good moments and I think the general spirit of the team is a key point. That’s the first parameter. The second one is clearly to be able to share our experience and learn about our preparation, the bike setting to be able to pull the team towards the top and to create real teambuilding through that moment. That’s what a training camp all together is for – to get motivated all together.” Fabien Barel

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We wanted to hold the camp a little later this year so we could put the final touches on our preparation for the first Enduro World Series (EWS) round in Chile. Everyone on the team is a little different, which is a great, and means they all turned up having prepared in all kinds of ways. Last year was a step into the unknown as no one really knew what a whole season of Enduro would be like but this year we’re more prepared as we now know what to expect.

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Joe Barnes spent the winter building trails back home and was a pretty good shape following hours of sprint training on the rollers as well as soaking up the sun on a training camp in Madeira. Ines Thoma found a new love in “functional fitness”, spent plenty of time cross-country skiing, which is practically the law when you come from the Bavarian Alps, and she also took her campervan on a road trip to do some training on the roads down in Tuscany. Nobody understands perfect preparation quite like Master Fabien with all his years of experience and accumulated knowledge; he chose to do most of his winter training riding XC. And last but not least, our Swiss newbie, Ludo May, was down enjoying the trails in Spain, preparing for his new challenge with the team.

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We didn’t need to search long for a location to hold the training camp this year. Although CFET is officially based in Germany at Canyon.Home in Koblenz, Nice feels more like our spiritual home as this is where the team was born at the beginning of last year. It also happens to be Fabien Barel’s hometown, but most importantly it provides everything we need for riding Enduro: perfect trails, year-round sunshine, great food as well as comfortable accommodation.

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“Nice is a great place for the training camp as we got pretty much all facilities around to train properly for mountain biking. Having the mountains, nice landscape towards the end of the Alps to ride and train Enduro is a perfect location, because we have a high amount of trails, which are providing us all type of terrain. We also normally get really good weather and temperatures over the winter and the fact that I live here and know all the facilities as well as gym, massage, hotel fairly easily, which makes everything really simple and familiar for the team. So I would say coming to Nice gives us generally the opportunity to get in shape in a short amount of time.” Fabien Barel

The main aim of the week was to get to know our way around the new team bikes. This is not just important for the guys who have to ride the things flat out, but also for our mechanics who get the chance to work on the bikes out in the open and away from the comforts of the workshop, just like they’ll be at races throughout the season.

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In the middle of the camp we had a two day test session with our sponsors, FOX, in nearby Finale Ligure. The focus of this was to really dial the suspension setups the guys want to ride with. This is essential as they need to feel comfortable and be able to place every last ounce of trust in their machines to ride as fast as possible.

Luckily, we only got washed out by the rain on one of the ten days we were riding, but we were able to spend the time wisely by doing some work in the gym and fine-tuning the bikes. Congratulations at this point go to Joe who earned bragging rights after a spontaneous pull-up competition, and to Ludo, who triumphed in the plank-off. Competition runs in the blood for these guys!

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Anyone spending a whole season riding the same bike looks forward to a change every now and then, which is why we had an epic XC ride pencilled in for the camp. It was clear at this point that the definition of “XC” varies substantially depending on where you come from. For Fabien, XC means taking on the stages of last year’s Blausasc Enduro. Only riding cross country bikes. And doing the whole thing in reverse… Needless to say the climbs could be classed as “challenging”, but that didn’t make the whole thing any less fun.

“It’s really great to start the year with the team with an intense XC ride and having a big laugh and a great time on the bike – but these guys are insane. They pedal hard every time!” Fabien Barel

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Even on a training camp, time management plays a decisive role, just like on a race weekend. With hardly any contingencies, we had to try and get the best out of the time we had to train while keeping the stress down and allowing sufficient time for recovery. With a group like this, however, things quickly descended into a bit of a riot. We had some good times shooting the breeze and learning more about one other, and taking the mick out of each other only serves to strengthen the team’s bonds!

“Generally we had a really good laugh and our new team mate Ludo is a great fun person and really good to have fun with. We also have the opportunity to have a new mechanic called Dougie that is on the side of Joe and I would say we had a lot of good moments and I believe that the team building during this week achieved a great atmosphere and relationship which will be profitable in terms of performance all year long.” Fabien Barel

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The challenges of racing Enduro are enormous, which is something we definitely learnt throughout 2013. Enduro truly does blend together the very best parts from all disciplines of mountain biking. This year, we feel we’ve done as much as we can to be ready.

”My expectation for the 2014 season is clearly to be able to compete at the top in Enduro. I do believe that with the team synergy, the teammates, the mechanics, the quality of the bike and where we are standing at the moment in terms of R&D we have all parameters to be competitive, so I think it´s definitely gonna be a great season and our goal is clearly to be on top of the game . It’s for sure that it will be a fantastic season!” Fabien Barel

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It won’t be long before we’re back on the road after the training camp. In less than two weeks we jet off to Chile for round one of the EWS. A season packed with action and great experiences is right on our doorstep – it’s all about to kick off big time!

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Kristoff Wins Monumental Milan-Sanremo

  March 24th, 2014 | 11:48 | Canyon Onlineredaktion

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Norwegian sprints to career-defining victory  

Alexander Kristoff of Team Katusha took the biggest win of his career yesterday at the 2014 edition of Milan-San Remo. The Norwegian triumphed in the cold and the rain by unleashing a powerful sprint on his Ultimate CF SLX at the end of 300 km and just under seven hours of tough racing. His success in Italy’s biggest one-day race marks the third victory in a Monument for Katusha following Joaquim Rodríguez’s successive wins at Il Lombardia in 2012 and 2013.

Katusha to the fore in the wind and rain

With the blizzards and freezing conditions of the 2013 edition still fresh in the memories of many, nobody could blame the riders for longing after more pleasant conditions this year. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t to be as they rode through rain and hail for the entirety of the race, providing a spectacle of endurance and suffering for spectators at home.

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Katusha proved to be among those most hardened to the extreme conditions with many riders still present in the finale to work for Kristoff and all riders finishing the race. The Russian duo of Pavel Brutt and Aleksandr Kuchynski were highly visible through the gloomy conditions, upping the pace in a depleted peloton prior to the penultimate climb of the day, up the Cipressa, to reel in the day’s break.

Heading up the race’s final climb of the Poggio, which topped out just 6 km from the finish line, Kristoff was able to stay in touch with the front group as several riders attempted to break away and put the sprinters in difficulty. Fortunately for Kristoff he still had Italian Classics specialist Luca Paolini at his side. Paolini put in an enormous effort to shepherd Kristoff back to the front of the pack down the dangerous descent into Sanremo and then kept the pace high to within the last 600 metres, putting off any late attacks.

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Sprint Royale

An elite group of around 25 riders made it to the line to fight for the win with many of the pre-race favourites and previous winners still present, including Fabian Cancellara, Gerald Ciolek, Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan. Nevertheless, with some 300 km in the legs Kristoff proved to be the strongest, surging ahead in the final 150 metres to win by a couple of bike lengths over Cancellara and Team Sky’s Ben Swift.

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“It was the best moment of my life”, claimed a delighted Kristoff after the finish, who was keen to highlight the work by his teammate Paolini: “I just said, ‘I’m here Luca,’ and he brought me to the front. He could stay in the group, follow the attacks and he did a great job. I’m very thankful to him. […] A sprint after 300 km is different from one after 200 km. Normally I don’t lose much power even on a long stage”. The Norwegian is well aware of the significance of yesterday’s win and the impact it will have, “Milan-Sanremo really puts you on the map and it’ll always stay in my career. It’s important. It’s almost unbelievable.”

Lobato takes 4th for Movistar Team

Perhaps one of the most standout performances yesterday came from Spain’s Juanjo Lobato, who in his debut Milan-Sanremo just missed out on the podium by finishing 4th. It was a hugely encouraging display by the young sprinter who is in his first season for Movistar Team and rounded off a perfect day for Canyon.

Canyon bikes have now triumphed six times in cycling’s Monuments since 2009.

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Tirreno-Adriatico Roundup: TT & GC Success for Movistar Team

  March 19th, 2014 | 14:05 | Onlineredaktion

It’s a busy time in the UCI WorldTour right now with the recent conclusion of stage races in France and Italy, and cycling’s one-day “monuments” looming just around the corner. Tirreno-Adriatico came to a close yesterday bringing an end to yet another successful week for Canyon riders: Movistar Team claimed 2nd in the GC and a stage victory through Nairo Quintana and Adriano Malori respectively, while Dani Moreno of Katusha put in strong performances throughout the week to finish 8th overall.

Magnificent Malori takes closing time trial

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A flat 9.5 km out-and-back time trial along the Adriatic coastline stood between the peloton and the end of a gruelling week of racing through the heart of Italy, which included riding up the country’s steepest road with gradients in excess of 30%. What better place then, for an Italian to triumph? Adriano Malori stunned the rest of the field aboard the Speedmax CF, powering to victory and taking some major scalps in the process.

Malori described his performance yesterday as “the most beautiful victory” of his entire life and after one glance at the results, who could disagree? The Italian overcame the elite of world time-trialling by not only beating Fabian Cancellara into 2nd place by six seconds, but also reigning Olympic Champion, Bradley Wiggins, and World Champion, Tony Martin. In his own words, “it almost feels like a dream to win in front of the best specialists in the world.”

Quintana defends 2nd place in GC    

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Malori’s was not the only standout performance in yesterday’s ITT as Nairo Quintana consolidated his 2nd place in the GC, backing up his climbing performances from earlier in the race. With riders perceived as more adept time-trialists breathing down his neck, the Columbian proved yesterday he is not just exceptional in the hills by putting time into all his rivals including eventual race winner, Alberto Contador. As a key build up event ahead of the Giro d’Italia, things are heading in the right directions for Quintana’s big season goal: “I’m getting used to the way of racing in Italy, the roads, how everything works here”.

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A recent spate of time-trial equipment testing, training and wind tunnel time has paid dividends for Movistar Team. In the race’s opening TTT they surprised the rest of the field with an impressive display to finish 3rd, and in addition to Malori’s victory yesterday British national champion Alex Dowsett also finished 6th.  In a discipline where equipment plays such a vital role, the gains provided by the Speedmax CF have been backed up by three victories already in 2014.

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Milan-Sanremo Preview: La Primavera kicks off 2014 monuments

In a sport with such a rich history as cycling, there are some races that transcend all others: Milan-Sanremo is one such race. Considered one of cycling’s five monuments, at a shade under 300km it is the longest race of the season, with the distance alone presenting a major obstacle to the riders in addition to the short coastal climbs that feature in its finale. As such, past winners include a wide mix of classics specialists, sprinters and GC riders.

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Katusha animated last year’s snow-disrupted race with an attacking display and Alexander Kristoff eventually took the sprint behind the break in brutal conditions. So far this year the Norwegian has shown good form, taking a stage win at the Tour of Oman last month, and is a good bet as a sprinter who also climbs well. Another contender from the Russian outfit is Italian classics specialist Luca Paolini, who thrives in tough conditions and will no doubt be especially motivated for his country’s biggest one day race.

Movistar Team will be backing Jose Joaquín Rojas who stood out at last week’s Paris-Nice as the most consistent rider in the whole race. Other options for the Spanish squad should the race come down to a sprint finish include Fran Ventoso and Juanjo Lobato, who already has a number of podium finishes to his name in 2014.

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Paris-Nice Roundup: Two Canyon Riders in Top-10

  March 17th, 2014 | 11:34 | Onlineredaktion

The 2014 “Race to the Sun” came to a close yesterday as the peloton charged along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice under clear skies, bringing an end to eight exciting and unpredictable days of racing in France. An experimental parcours characterised the 2014 edition with the lack of both summit finishes and time trials meaning the overall classification remained open throughout with just a handful of seconds separating the main contenders.

In the end it was Carlos Betancur from Colombia who triumphed with two Canyon riders featuring inside the top-10: Katusha’s Simon Spilak finished in eighth and Movistar Team’s Jose Joaquin Rojas rounded off the week just off the podium in fourth.

Having achieved a good result in 2013, Spilak was able to showcase his climbing talent once the race hit the hills of southern France and was prominent as one of the most attacking riders in the peloton, coming to within just a kilometre of holding off the bunch on the final stage into Nice.

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Meanwhile, JJ Rojas was perhaps the most consistent rider in the entire race, featuring in both the sprints and the more technical finishes, and came incredibly closest to victory on the final stage, where he crossed the line second. Movistar Team also come away from the race with the Team Classification, underlining a solid performance for the squad.

All Eyes on Italy

Paris-nice was not the only UCI WorldTour race going on over the past week. Focus now switches to the remaining two stages of Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy before Milan-San Remo, the year’s first “Monument”, takes place on Sunday. Three Canyon riders are currently well-placed at Tirreno-Adriatico, with Movistar Team leader Nairo Quintana lying in second and both Dani Moreno and Giampaolo Caruso of Katusha in 7th and 9th respectively.

We’ll give you a roundup of Tirreno-Adriatico and take a look forward to “La Classicisima” later in the week.

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Key Week for Katusha and Movistar Team in WorldTour

  March 7th, 2014 | 15:03 | Onlineredaktion

It‘s getting to that time of year when road fans are spoilt for choice by all the action coming their way. This week sees not just one, but two UCI WorldTour stage races taking place, with Paris-Nice getting underway yesterday in France and Tirreno-Adriatico set to start in Italy on Wednesday. Both these races are among the top tier of UCI WorldTour events, so all riders will be looking to put in a big performance: Katusha and Movistar Team are no exception.

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The Race to the Sun

Despite missing out in the bunch sprint in yesterday’s opening stage, Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff has a stage win firmly in his sights during this week’s “Race to the Sun”. The Norwegian is looking to build his form ahead of the Spring Classics, having already taken a victory this year at the Tour of Oman. With no time-trials or summit finishes in this year’s edition, the race favours classics specialists like Kristoff, although last year’s fourth-place finisher Simon Spilak will no doubt come to the fore when the race hits the hills in the south of France.

Fourth in yesterday’s stage, Movistar Team come with Jose Joaquin Rojas challenging in the sprints and the likes of the Izaguirre brothers, Sylvester Szmyd and Frenchman John Gadret looking to do damage in the hillier stages.

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The Race of the Two Seas

Tirreno-Adriatico kicks off this Wednesday with the first Team Time Trial of the year, an 18 km test where the Spanish ProTeam will be looking to put their recent TTT training and time in the wind tunnel to good effect. Nairo Quintana leads the squad as he continues his preparation for the Giro d’Italia and will be supported by strong rouleurs such as Alex Dowsett, Jonathan Castroviejo and Adriano Malori, who will use the opening stage to set their leader up for a tilt at the overall classification.

One rider notorious for thriving on the short sharp ascents that characterise Tirreno-Adriatico is Dani Moreno, who will lead Katusha in Italy from Wednesday. Lining up alongside the Spaniard will be Italian tough guy Luca Paolini and former Russian national champion Alexander Kolobnev.

Stay tuned for a fantastic week of racing to come!

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Valverde Continues to Reign in Spain

  March 3rd, 2014 | 11:35 | Onlineredaktion

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One week after a commanding performance at the Vuelta a Andalucía, Alejandro Valverde clocked up his fifth win of the season and the eighth for Movistar Team on Saturday at the Vuelta a Murcia. The race marked the first occasion in the 2014 season that Nairo Quinatna and Valverde, the two leaders of Movistar Team, have lined up in the same squad together.

Aggressive tactics pay off

Right from the gun the Spanish ProTeam was in an attacking mood and was active in moves throughout the race over what was a particularly challenging and mountainous parcours. In the end it was Valverde who proved the strongest, once again making fine use of his trademark uphill finishing kick to cross the line 3 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Tiago Machado. Jose Joaquin Rojas rounded off another strong team performance and provided a strong signal that he is back to his best following injury by taking 5th, just 7 seconds down on his teammate.

Lobato on the podium in Almería

Movistar Team continued its run of success at the following day’s Clásica de Almería, where Juanjo Lobato sprinted to 2nd place and two other riders in blue, Fran Ventoso and José Joaquín Rojas, also featuring inside the top-10.

Take a closer look at the Movistar Team bikes here.

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Movistar Team Victorious in Andalucía

  February 24th, 2014 | 12:13 | Onlineredaktion

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A hat-trick of stage wins, the overall and the points classification for Valverde

Movistar Team continued their impressive run of early season form in southern Spain with a commanding display to dominate the Vuelta a Andalucía. The squad got the race underway with an impressive performance in the prologue, where Valverde rode his new Speedmax CF to the fastest time with teammates Izagurre and Moreno also placing inside the top-10. Valverde was then able to unleash his trademark uphill finishing kick on the following two stages to take a hat-trick of wins and an unassailable lead in the GC. Jon Izagirre was also in the mix throughout the race eventually finishing just off the podium in fourth overall.

Teamwork the key to success

A challenging parcours took the peloton over the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, providing a real test for the squad to control the race. In spite of the determined attempts by Team Sky to blow the race to pieces on the two summit finishes and set up their leader, Richie Porte, Movistar Team held firm to deliver Valverde perfectly in the finales.  The Spaniard was keen to pay his teammates back: “After all they did for me these two days, always there, they deserved this victory.”

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Dream start to 2014

The race marked Movistar Team’s first successes on European soil for the year and takes their current win tally up to seven. This marks the best start to a season the squad has ever had since its debut four years ago as well as the dream beginning to their partnership with Canyon, who became official bike supplier in 2014. With the Spring Classics now fast approaching, results thus far would suggest that the boys in blue will definitely be among the favourites heading into the early season’s biggest one day races. Beforehand, however, Valverde will be back in action this week building his form at La Clásica de Almería and Vuelta a Murcia.

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Wednesday Winners: Two Victories in One Day for Canyon

  February 20th, 2014 | 11:01 | Onlineredaktion

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When you’re only halfway through the week and your riding plans at the weekend still seem a way off, it’s easy to see why people refer to Wednesday as the “hump” day.

Nevertheless, Canyon got a mid-week boost yesterday with not one, but two victories coming from our UCI ProTeams. No sooner had Norwegian Alexander Kristoff opened Team Katusha’s 2014 victory account at the Tour of Oman when Alejandro Valverde blasted through the streets of southern Spain to take the win in the prologue of the Vuelta a Andalucia.

First win in the bag for Katusha and Kristoff 

Kristoff has clearly bounced back well from the bad luck that plagued him at the Tour of Qatar, where he crashed heavily. After finishing in the top 10 on stage one in Oman, at the end of stage two he was able to show his good early season form and tactical nous by sprinting into a block headwind in a bunch kick against a strong field.

Kristoff now sits in second place in the overall standings with the situation looking good for the coming northern classics, which the Norwegian has set among his main 2014 objectives.

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TT Prep pays off for Movistar Team 

Further west in sunny southern Spain, the Vuelta a Andalucia kicked off yesterday with a technical 7.3km prologue through Almeria. Fresh from a training camp to hone their positions aboard their new Speedmax CF time trial machines, Movistar Team was able reap the rewards by placing three riders in the top 10 with Valverde now leading the race. In an exhibition of supreme bike handling, Valverde ripped through the corner-strewn course and at one point even overtook the race commissaire’s motorbike.

The Spaniard was clearly pleased with his new bit of kit, stating, “It was the first time on my new TT bike and this debut was impossible to improve. We are very satisfied with how it works.” Teammates Jon Izaguirre and Javier Moreno now sit in 3rd and 7th position respectively as the squad looks in fine nick heading into the remaining four stages.

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On the hunt for every last watt

  February 12th, 2014 | 10:44 | Onlineredaktion

Team Katusha is tireless when it comes to gaining more performance for less effort and Canyon is always there to help seek out those crucial advantages. Every single watt saved improves an athlete’s endurance and overall speed so it’s no surprise that teams these days deploy all resources available to them in order to make their riders and equipment even quicker. Canyon Team Liaison Manager, Andreas Walzer, plus a mechanic from our R&D department were on hand at Magny Cours in France to oversee a wind tunnel test with selected riders from Team Katusha. The purpose of the test was to analyse and improve the riders’ performance by trying different helmet models, various skinsuits as well as altering the highly versatile cockpit on the Speedmax CF.

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Canyon and Katusha Embark on Third Season Together

  January 28th, 2014 | 17:46 | Onlineredaktion

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With two highly successful seasons alongside UCI ProTeam Katusha behind us, tomorrow marks the official start of our third season together as the team unveils its full rider line-up in Koblenz ready to take on the 2014 UCI WorldTour.  In addition to the rider presentation, Team Katusha will also be celebrating the 5-year anniversary of its establishment. The event tomorrow is a first for Canyon.Home.

Canyon has been official bike supplier to Team Katusha since the beginning of 2012. The team surrounding the UCI WorldTour’s top-ranked rider for 2012/13, Joaquim Rodríguez, his compatriot Dani Moreno and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Alexander Kristoff will once again compete on Canyon bikes whilst aiming for victory in the world’s biggest races. Alongside the UCI ProTeam, which entered into its sixth season at the Tour Down Under in Australia last week, the Russian Global Cycling Project also consists of two youth teams as well as a UCI Continental team.

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All the flagship models from our range will be available to the team, including the Ultimate CF SLX, Aeroad CF and Speedmax CF for deployment in time trials. The bikes will furthermore be equipped with Mavic wheels and tyres, Shimano drivetrains, Selle Italia saddles as well as Ritchey bars and stems. Aeroad CF and Ultimate CF SLX models as used by the team are also available to the public as replica models.

Defending No.1  

“Back to No. 1”. This was Joaquim Rodríguez and Team Katusha’s mission statement at the beginning of 2013. Following success in 2012, Purito, Katusha and Canyon set out to defend his title as the UCI’s top-ranked rider by targeting the races of the UCI WorldTour. At the end of a thrilling season that went right down to the wire, the Catalan came out on top by sealing victory at “Il Lombardia” for the second year in a row on his Aeroad CF. Off the back of two successful campaigns, the team is once again fired up to claim an unprecedented third title in a row in 2014.

Following some 573 race days over the past two seasons, we will continue to work side by side with Team Katusha throughout 2014 in order to seek out every last performance advantage. A constant dialogue between Katusha’s riders and our R&D team is of huge importance to further product development. This relationship is highly valued by Canyon founder and CEO, Roman Arnold: “Having the co-operation of the world’s best riders was a key motive when becoming bike supplier to Katusha. We are absolutely passionate about cycling and constantly strive to build the best bike in the world.” We look forward to continuing our partnership with Katusha and to many more fantastic moments along the way as they set out to defend their title.

Canyon and Katusha – Highlights

2012

1st UCI WorldTour Individual Ranking

1st Fléche Wallonne

2nd Overall at Giro d’Italia

2 Stage wins at Giro d’Italia

11 Days in Pink Jersey at Giro d’italia

3rd Overall at Vuelta a España

3 Stage wins at Vuelta a España

13 Days in Red Jersey at Vuelta a España

1st Il Lombardia

3rd Olympic Games Road Race

2013

1st UCI WorldTour Individual Ranking

3rd Overall at Tour de France

1st Fléche Wallonne

1 Stage win at Giro d’Italia

4 Days in Pink Jersey at Giro d’italia

1st Tour of Norway

3 Stage wins at Vuelta a España

4th Overall at Vuelta a España

1st Il Lombardia

2nd World Championship Road Race

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