(Las Vegas, NV) -- 23 Degrees Sports Management announced Friday the names of three Cross Country athletes who will ride for the new World Cup team sponsored by Trek Bicycles. Liam Killeen (GBR), Lukas Flueckiger (SUI) and Matthias Flueckiger (SUI) will represent Trek Bicycles at Cross Country World Cup events. The talented trio will bring both experience and youthful determination to the team, and plans to build upon their impressive collective results to date.
At 26 years of age, Liam Killeen is the senior rider of the program and already a two time Olympian, a two time Under 23 World Cup Champion and reigning Commonwealth Games Champion. Liam is experiencing an excellent return to form after his 4th place at the 2008 World Championships, and an amazing ride at the Beijing Olympics which saw him fight back from dead last after an accident at the start, to an impressive 7th with lap times that would have earned him a medal.
"I'm really excited to join this new and well supported program as I begin my long term preparation for the London Olympics in 2012," said Liam. "The new bike is phenomenal and I'm convinced that my training, coupled with the support of the team, will see my results continue to improve as they have been for the last half of the 2008 season. I'm also excited to have the Flueckiger brothers as team mates, we'll make a strong team".
24 year old Lukas Flueckiger has had an impressive 2008 season with no less than 3 World Cup podiums, including a 2nd place in Bromont at Round 7, and a 4th place in Schladming at the World Cup finals. An injury earlier in the year prevented Lukas from finishing higher overall in the World Cup than 9th. In 2009 Lukas' goals are to be constantly in the top 5 in World Cup XC racing, and long term he plans to start winning World Cup races from 2010, and to take a medal at the Olympics in 2012.
"For me, Trek is the future of the mountain bike sport and I'm really happy to get a chance to be a part of it," said Flueckiger. "With the support of the 23 Degrees team, I'm able to concentrate even more on the races and I hope to achieve my maximum. I'm honoured to ride for this team and I'm looking forward to making my way to the top of the rankings in cross country, racing Trek bikes."
Younger brother Matthias is considered by many to be a real superstar of the future. This 2006 Junior World Champion turns 20 tomorrow, and already has a medal at the Under 23 World Championships. With another 2 years in that category, expect Matthias to be picking up more medals and titles in the near future. His goals for 2009 include winning the World Cup Under 23 title like his team mate Liam Killeen has done, as well as regularly finishing top 15 in the World Cup. His 9th place at the World Cup finals in Schladming is evidence of his abilities and potential. Matthias also wishes to join his brother and Liam at the 2012 Olympics.
"The way to the top of the world best mountain bikers is getting steeper," mentioned the younger Flueckiger. "Focusing on the details of training and preparation is getting more and more important. With this new team sponsored by Trek I can optimize the coaching and the material to the smallest details. I'm looking forward to start next year's world cup season with the actual best full-suspension bike available. This way I hope to make a step forward to the top rankings of the cross country world."
Trek Bicycles guarantees that each rider will have the utmost advantage by supplying a Top Fuel 9.9 SSL frame. All-new for 2009, the OCLV carbon frame features patent-pending ABP technology, Full Floater and EVO Link. Riding on 100mm of travel, the frame also features a revolutionary no-cut seatmast for the highest performance.
23 Degrees Founder and CEO Martin Whiteley commented on the rider announcements. "We're extremely excited to have these three amazing athletes on board. I'm confident that in our first season of racing next year we'll be challenging the more established teams for the title of no.1 Men's XC team, as well as seeing some regular podium performances. These 3 riders will work brilliantly as a team."
Further details on the Downhill riders for the team, sponsors and race schedule will be released at a later date.