Sam Blenkinsop on team Yeti/Fox

Sam Blenkinsop (Wanganui, NZ), one of the youngest riders to hit the World Cup circuit, is bringing fresh downhill talent from down under to the Yeti / Fox Shox Factory Team in a two-year signed deal.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

It was back in 2005 that Blenkinsop emerged in the foreground of downhill racing at the World Championships in Italy, where the skill and riding style of the 16-year old stood out on the challenging Livigno course. His solid top ten in the junior category was an early indication of the raw talent Blenkinsop has brought to the circuit. The following year, Blenkinsop took the world racing scene by storm with a silver medal on his home turf at the 2006 Rotorua UCI World Championships as a junior, even after an over-the-handlebar crash.

Blenkinsop soon after moved up to the elite ranks and finished ninth in the elite downhill at the 2007 UCI World Championships in Fort William, Scotland, and top 25 World Cup overall—all within his first year of turning pro. “Yeti has a long legacy of grooming young talent," said Chris Conroy, Yeti’s president. “Sam is a very exciting rider and we are looking forward to see him progress to the top ranks of the sport." Blenkinsop is considered one of the hottest up-and-coming racers and is now joining forces with members on the recently expanded Yeti / Fox Racing Shox Factory Team.

The Global team will compete primarily in World Cup competitions and will include Jared Graves (Toowoomba, AUS), fellow New Zealander Justin Leov (Christchurch, NZL), and Ross Milan (Golden, CO). The Yeti / Fox Racing Shox national team will include Rich Houseman (Temecula, CA), TJ Sharp (Boulder, CO), Chris Boice (Albuquerque, NM), and Rudy Unrau (Boulder, CO). Blenkinsop and Leov are currently racing head-to-head in the New Zealand North Island DH series. And just last week, in the absence of Leov, Blenkinsop took a decisive win at Round 2 in Rotorua.

The series will take them through March before they hit the road for World Cup racing and training with the team in Europe. With goals to be regularly in the top ten this year, Blenkinsop is on his way to rival the big names of the sport on the 2008 World Cup circuit. “It’s awesome to be joining such an amazing team", says Sam. “There’s such a history of top riders that have raced for Yeti, and it means a lot to me to be invited to join the team. The bikes are wicked, and I’m already a big fan of Fox Shox having raced them last year.

With team mates like Jared and Justin, I’m going to learn heaps this year, can’t wait to get racing on the new rig."

Yeti Cycles has been home to some of the biggest names in the sport and has the longest running professional mountain bike team in the industry. The company is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado.