One month following the announcement of the three Cross Country riders that will form half of the new World Cup team sponsored by Trek, 23 Degrees Sports Management announced today that the downhill half of the new team will also be made up of three riders; two men and a woman. The two men will be Justin Leov (NZL) and Andrew Neethling (RSA), while the top level woman rider will be announced on December 1st.
Having just turned 24, Justin Leov is a highly accomplished rider who's had a great season in 2008; most notably was his 6th place finish at the World Championships, the best ever performance by a New Zealand man at the Downhill World Championships. Justin has had a string of top 10 results over the past few seasons and therefore joins the team as a regular World Cup top 10 rider.
Also 24 years old, Andrew Neethling has impressed many in his past three seasons, showing constant progression. His 6th place on the physical track at this year's Canberra World Cup (the venue for the 2009 World Championships), and his impressive top 10 on the steep and technical Schladming course in Austria, shows that 'Needles' has the potential to be top 10 on any course he races.
Team Director Martin Whiteley said: "Apart from always striving to run one of the most professional teams on the circuit, one of my goals has always been to take riders and give them the opportunity to shine and reach their absolute goals. Our previous two teams have satisfied both these goals, and in the case of these two talented top 10 riders and our new program, we will be giving them every opportunity to improve further on their results to date. With the first round of the World Cup in South Africa next year, we are thrilled to have a super competitive South African on the team, and we feel that our combination of two top 10 men, and a top level woman, will put us in a good place to compete with the leading gravity teams for the coveted UCI DH Team trophy, something our teams have won three times before."
Trek Mountain Bike Brand Manager Michael Browne noted: "Trek believes that the Session 88 is the best downhill bike on the market with exceptional technology that spans the breadth of the Trek suspension line-up. Trek also believes in the power of racing to prove both the solvency of, and further evolve, a product. We are happy to offer the best downhill bike to an elite roster of athletes. Like Trek, these riders are driven to outperform their competitors. We look forward to the challenge that lies ahead."
Further details on the team's female downhill rider will be released on December 1st, and details on the team's co-sponsors and race schedule will be released at a later date.