New year, new team rosters and the biggest signings come from Specialized Factory Racing with Chilean Martin Vidaurre and French Victor Koretzky joining the team for 2023.
Vidaurre, despite being only 22 years old, is a rider who has caused a stir in the cross-country mountain biking scene and really brought Chile onto the XCO map. He is the first-ever South American XCO World Champion and, this year, he is moving up to the elite category. Having won all but one World Cup race in his last u23 season, Vidaurre is one to watch as he starts his first elite season with Specialized.
Another top cross-country rider joining the team at the very last minute is French rider Victor Koretzky, who has two XCO World Cup wins under his belt in 2021 and placed fifth in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Last year Koretzky switched to racing road bikes in team B&B Hotels but, after the team’s funding fell apart, he returned to mountain bike racing and placed fourth among the Elite Men in the final World Cup XCO at Val di Sole. Koretzky will still continue to race Specialized bikes on the road but for WorldTour team Bora-Hansgrohe filling in when time and his busy racing calendar allow.
“I’m excited to have Martin and Victor onboard this year. Two super strong riders with some style that adds a lot to XC, and we’re on track to be rocking yellow leaders’ plates at the World Cups. We’re going to have a lot of fun together on the bike and off,” Christopher Blevins commented. With the two new riders joining, he will now be the most experienced Specialized rider among the team’s men.
The Specialized Factory Racing team continues this year with an equal split of women and men riders. The women’s roster remains unchanged, with Haley Batten, Sina Frei and Laura Stigger continuing to ride for the team in 2023. The team manager Benno Willeit believes the team is now the most robust in 17 years.
“Personally, I’m super excited about the two new riders we managed to sign for the next few years. Martin made his first impression back in 2020 at WC in Leogang - he was the most outstanding rider of the weekend. From there onwards, we followed his development and gave all we had to convince him to join our team in 2023. With Victor, we exchanged some messages during the season as he is also a very talented and exciting rider with the right mindset and shares the team spirit. Once the rumour of the default of the B&B team started and Victor was legally allowed to have conversations with other teams again, we continued our discussions, and together with Bora Hansgrohe, we could offer him the ideal environment to fulfil his desire to become a champ on MTB, and road. This is the most exciting and hopefully the strongest XCO team I have worked with since I’m with Specialized!”
Left to right- Laura Stigger, Haley Batten, and Sina Frei, specialized factory racing team.jpeg, by Suvi Loponen
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