Following a thrilling 2015 season that saw the team collect podium finishes and big wins at some of the most prestigious Downhill and Enduro events around the world, the Giant Factory Off-Road Team is back for 2016 with a renewed focus on the UCI World Cup and Enduro World Series races.
Five-time Colombian downhill national champion Marcelo Gutierrez signed a three-year extension with the team and is already off to a winning start in 2016 following a victoryat theManizales Urban Downhill race in January. Gutierrez is coming off a successful 2015 season that saw him land his first-ever World Cup podium finish at Fort William and break into the top-10 overall with a final World Cup ranking of eighth. The 25-year-old also repeated his title at the grueling Garbanzo DH, part of the Crankworx Whistler event in British Columbia.
“Our World Cup DH squad had a great season last year, riding the new Glory Advanced bikes and collecting some nice podium finishes,” Gutierrez said. “I’m looking forward to continuing the momentum and seeing what we can do in 2016.”
Joining Gutierrez on the downhill team is Spanish teenager Alex Marin, who makes the jump up to the elites this year following a successful run in the junior men’s category. Marin, who finished 4th overall in the 2015 junior men’s World Cup standings, with several podium appearances, traveled to Colombia in January to train and race with Gutierrez as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup season.
Also returning to the DH squad this year is 21-year-old French rider Guillaume Cauvin. The former junior French Cup winner had a solid first year with the team in 2015, highlighted by a podium finish in the pro men’s DH at the Crankworx Les 2 Alpes event in France.
The team’s enduro squad is led this year by Frenchman Yoann Barelli. The 30-year-old had a breakout 2015 season, getting stronger as the season went on. He scored a number of stage wins in the Enduro World Series and finished second at two of the last three rounds. In the end, despite a rough start that saw him crash out of Round 1 in New Zealand, Barelli dazzled fans with moments of brilliance on his Reign Advanced 27.5 race bike and finished a strong ninth overall for the year in the EWS.
“We had an awesome 2015 season and we’re all looking forward to going full on again this year,” Barelli said. “I came so close to winning the overall at a couple Enduro World Series events, and this year I’ll be gunning for that top step on the podium.”
Also returning to the enduro squad is Australian Josh Carlson, who came on strong in 2015. The 29-year-old was impressive throughout the season, finishing 12th overall in the EWS. Carlson’s 2015 highlight was winning two stages at Round 6 of the EWS in Whistler, and coming close to winning the overall there. American Adam Craig will join Barelli and Carlson for select EWS races and other North American enduro events.
Beyond the global riders, next year’s team also includes American XC and enduro racer Carl Decker. The veteran from Oregon will continue to focus on a variety of enduro, XC and gravel grinder events in 2016. And Seamus Powell, a 25-year-old two-time U.S. Super D national champion, will focus mainly on events in the East Coast region of the U.S.
All of the Giant Factory Off-Road Team riders will have a full quiver of Giant bikes to choose from including Glory Advanced 27.5 downhill bikes, Reign Advanced 27.5 enduro machines, Trance Advanced 27.5 trail bikes, and Anthem Advanced 27.5 and XtC Advanced SL 27.5 XC bikes. Giant is also supporting the team with its Contact SLR saddles, the new Rail trail helmet, Giant footwear including the Charge XC shoe with Motion Efficiency System technology, plus jackets and other apparel.
Newly added sponsor 100% will bring a whole new look to the team, providing a range of products including their all-new AIRCRAFT Carbon full-face helmet, gravity race kits and gloves. Other new sponsors include HT Components pedals, Re-Fuel digital accessories and Jackroo XC kits. Returning sponsors include SRAM, RockShox, Schwalbe and all of the other partners listed below.
You can follow the Giant Factory Off-Road Team all season long at facebook.com/giantfactoryteam.
2016 Giant Factory Off-Road Team Sponsors:
SRAM, RockShox, Schwalbe,100%, HT, Re-fuel, MRP, GoPro, Honey Stinger, Jakroo, ODI , Stan’s, Thule, Park Tool, Finish Line.
Giant is the world’s leading brand of high quality bicycles and cycling gear. Since 1972, Giant has combined craftsmanship, technology and innovative design to create the ultimate cycling experience for all riders, casual to competitive. Through its products, people and retail partners, Giant inspires passion for cycling all around the world. For more information, go to giant-bicycles.com.