Yeti are great at supporting and nurturing fresh new talent and this eight man squad is testimony to that ethos with plenty of young guns.
The Yeti / Fox Racing Shox team, perennially one of the strongest mountain teams on the circuit, announced its World Cup and national teams today.
Current World Cup 4x Overall Champion, Jared Graves will anchor the World Cup team and will be joined by rising star and fellow Aussie downhiller Shaun O’Connor. The national team is deep in talent and will feature two current national champions – Ross Milan (4x) and Mike West (Super D) and a deep pool of young downhill racers including Tyler Immer, Eliot Jackson, Joey Schusler, Chris Boice, and junior Richie Rude.
The Yeti / Fox Racing Shox Factory Team has consistently produced top World Cup talent. Yeti president, Chris Conroy, credits this to the development system they created five years ago. “We are committed to finding and developing young talent,” Conroy said. “We have invested significantly in our World Cup and national teams so our riders get great coaching, strength training and mechanical support to help them reach the next level of the sport.”
Shaun O’Connor, who finished 17th overall on the World Cup circuit last year is stoked to be riding on the Yeti / Fox Racing Shox Factory Team, “I am really excited to be on the Yeti program,” O’Connor said. “I was looking for a team that would allow me to grow as a rider and improve my racing… the Yeti program is a perfect fit.”
Jared Graves, who has raced on the Yeti program for the last seven years, will race the full World Cup schedule in four cross and race select downhill races as well. “Jared is one of the best all-around riders in the world. He’s always the man to beat in four cross and this year he’ll compete in downhill again,” Conroy said. Graves has a bevy of bicycle racing honors, including four cross World Champion, Australian Olympic selection for BMX (he finished 5th) and countless domestic titles in downhill and four cross in the United States and Australia.
Three new riders join the National Team, already stacked with local talent Joey Schusler, (Boulder, Colo.) and Chris Boice (Keystone, Colo.). Tyler Immer (Rancho Mureita, Calif.), Richie Rude (Redding, Conn.) and Eliot Jackson (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) are fast and talented. All three raced their first pro races last year and quickly made a name for themselves. Most notable displays of their natural talent include Immer’s third place at 2010 U.S. Mountain Bike National Championships, Jackson’s qualification at World Cup #5 Val Di Sole, and at 16 years old, Richie Rude’s first place in the Eastern States Cup Series overall.
The National Team looks to litter the podium at regional races; select Pro GRT races including MSC #5, Wildflower Rush; U.S. Open; USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships and World Cup races in Canada and the U.S.
“I’m excited about the new National talent coming up. Our program is about discovering new riders and this year we have a lot of new, young talent with a lot of potential,” said Damion Smith, Team Manager.
The team will be training under James Wilson of MTB Strength Training Systems. Wilson’s program has steadily become recognized as the premier mountain bike strength training system, and has been accredited for some of the top riders’ strength progression in the sport. Shaun Hughes is returning as Team Mechanic for the National/World Cup team after a great season last year. Damion Smith going on his sixth year as Team Manager, continues to manage the race programs.
The team will be racing the best equipment in the sport: Fox Racing Shox, Shimano, DT Swiss, Schwalbe, 661, Jett Designs, Topeak, WTB, Sunline, e13, ODI, Chris King and Motorex.
Yeti Cycles is a rider-owned high-end mountain bike company, based in Golden, Colorado. The company has twenty-five years of racing experience and focuses its product development on making racers go faster.