The UCI professional team with the renowned Steffen Thum (GER/34), Simon Gegenheimer (GER/30) and Rémi Laffont (FRA/27) starts the 2019 season as “Mountainbike Racingteam”. A distinguished sponsor and athlete selection as well as a distinctive approach itself shall be leading the way.
Although the realignment of his mountainbike team is not yet finalised, in his presentation Steffen Thum gave the public insights into the direction of the team. On the team jersey one searches in vain for a wild array of sponsors. The jersey is kept in neutral black including only three partners, the sportwear manufacturer GOREwear, the UAE partners from the Arabian Epic Series and the newly added hotel chain Explorer Hotels from the Alpine region. One could even call it a unique selling point, because such an empty jersey is found rarely at a mountainbike World Cup. “Content is more important than quantity” explains Steffen Thum, adding “We don’t want to add just any partner, who gives us a few thousand Euros, to our jersey. The athletes shall know the partners, explore the mountain bike sport with them and develop ideas together. Only then we can thrive and innovate.” And his strategy seems to be paying off, as anything but short-term thinking or a narrow approach was mentioned at the announcement of the new team at the Explorer Hotel Berchtesgaden.
“Steffen is officially the captain on our journey, but like on a boat, the team behind him is crucial for the endeavour. We all may, shall and in fact are expected to have a say in shaping our future. Sponsors as well as athletes, everyone according to their unique abilities. But we definitely don’t want any silent `money or race machines` in our team”, says four-time German champion Simon Gegenheimer about his old / new professional team.
The new team line up consists of the aforementioned three gentlemen, the cross-country skier and mother Miriam Neureuther (GER/28), as well as two completely new faces. The only 18 year-old Marion Frommerer (GER/18) from Passau, who is strong at sprinting. The team noticed her last year in China, when she surprisingly came third at the world championships. “We want Marion to take her time to find her way into the professional business, but she has already proven her talent without a doubt at the world championships”, says team manager Kerstin Thum. And then there is a second surprise in the portfolio of riders, because an Israeli rider in a team that advertises amongst others for a mountain bike series in Dubai seems rather unexpectedly. Her name is Gali Weinberg (ISR/21) and with only 42kg and her strong suit in climbing she will also offer a breath of fresh air to the team.
One initially feels the international focus of this team, which shall also be reflected in the choice of races. The World Cup shall be at the centre, with the different disciplines ranging from sprint to marathon. Truly international, just like the primarily English homepage. “Although Aalen is our home, this is in name only. We want the philosophy of the team to be well entrenched by fairness and a cosmopolitan way of thinking. I am very proud of my home, but despite our athletes ́ origin, whether it is in Aalen, the Tourmalet, the Alpes or Dubai, what is most important for us is that at the end we have a team with strong roots that is bearing beautiful flowers together”, explains captain Thum.