October 26/11 12:37 pm - Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Ends Team, Cuts Riders Loose
Posted by Editor on 10/26/11
Canada's longest running pro mountain bike team, Maxxis-Rocky Mountain, abruptly announced today that they are folding the team, releasing Geoff Kabush, Sabrina Jonnier and Cameron Cole. Marie-Helene Premont, who has had a long term personal contract with Procycle - the owner of Rocky Mountain Bicycles - will remain with Rocky Mountain, and the team will work at a more entry level with Under-23 riders for 2012.
The World Cup level team is folding primarily because of the loss of Maxxis as a sponsor. It has been no secret that Maxxis has been considering pulling back from their involvement in sponsoring the team; cycling is a small part of the corporation's business compared to the auto industry, and that side has not been showing stellar growth over the past few years.
The closure of the team comes at a particularly inopportune time, as Kabush prepares for the Olympics and Canada works to attain the UCI points necessary for starting positions at next year's Olympic Games. This late in the season it will also be more difficult for Kabush to find a big team with the space and budget to take on a rider of his stature.
Below is the full text of the release from Rocky Mountain:
It is with mixed emotions that Rocky Mountain Bicycles announces the end of the Maxxis-Rocky Mountain World Cup race team. The team raced for three seasons (2009, 2010, and 2011) and achieved phenomenal results and exposure for both brands. The team was one of the only teams in the last decade to win both XC and DH World Cups and also one of the only teams to have podium performances in men’s and women’s XC and DH World Cups in the same season.
Some notable highlights of the team’s three year run are French DH star, Sabrina Jonnier’s eight World Cup wins and two World Cup overall titles, and Geoff Kabush’s World Cup win in Bromont, two Canadian National titles, and multiple Pro XCT wins. The team also reached the World Cup podium several times with Marie-Hélène Prémont and saw Cameron Cole develop into one of the best male DH racers in the world.
Rocky Mountain’s Sports Marketing Manager, Peter Vallance commented, "Rocky Mountain isn’t a big company with a deep marketing budget, so we were very lucky to have such a strong, racing focused partner in Maxxis. Our relationship with Maxxis has allowed us to race and win at the highest level with some of the best athletes and staff in the sport, and we can’t thank Maxxis and the athletes enough for their commitment to the program over the last three years. Despite the end of our World Cup team together, Maxxis will continue to be a key partner in Rocky Mountain’s Factory and Freeride teams."
For 2012, Rocky Mountain has reaffirmed its commitment to the RMB Factory XC & DH Team, lead by 2012 Olympian Marie-Hélène Prémont and featuring Canada’s brightest young talent. Vallance continues, "We’re really excited about how the Factory Team is shaping up for next year. Not only are we confident that MHP is heading to the Olympics and will be a regular World Cup podium threat, we also have three of the top four U-23 men in Canada. Rocky Mountain has a long history of developing Canada’s best mountain bike athletes, and 2012 will be no different."
Rocky Mountain also remains committed to its world-renowned freeride athletes in 2012. Returning for his 14th year with Rocky Mountain is the Godfather of Freeride, Wade Simmons. Last month, Wade capped off a busy 2011 season by filming for Anthill’s new feature movie, Strength in Numbers in Switzerland. Finishing fifth at the 2010 Redbull Rampage, and fifth at 2011 RedBull Joyride, Rocky Mountain’s Geoff Gulevich had his best season to date and is currently hard at work in the Utah Desert working on a special project. 2012 will mark Gulevich’s fifth season with Rocky Mountain.
Big Mountain freeride superstar Thomas Vanderham will also be flying the Rocky Mountain flag in 2012. With two feature movies coming out in the next six months, Vanderham will be busy with filming and appearances.
Last but not least, Brett Tippie will be part of the Rocky Mountain freeride family in 2012, bringing his crazy riding and irresistible charm wherever he goes.
Rocky Mountain will be issuing formal roster announcements in coming weeks.