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Carter Woods joins Giant Factory Off-Road Team

Canadian one of five new signings (and maybe one new bike) in a big shift for GFORT

Carter Woods sits on his Giant Factory Off-Road Team bike Photo by: Giant Factory Off-Road Team

Carter Woods, the Canadian under-23 national champion and World Cup winner, has a new home for the 2023 season: Giant Factory Off-Road Team.

The Vancouver Island racer is one of five new signings, and hints at one new bike, for GFORT. The big shift in the 10-rider squad spans cross country, enduro and downhill World Cup racing for the coming season.

Carter Woods joins reworked Giant XC team

When Carter Woods lines up for his first World Cup of 2023, it will be with a completely re-vamped Giant Factory Off-Road Team XC squad. The 21-year-old Canadian is one of three new riders on the cross country program. Only Antoine Philipp returns to the squad from the 2022 roster.

Woods brings an impressive race resume to Giant for his final year of under-23 racing. That includes a trio of u23 World Cup victories and the 2022 Canadian u23 XCO and elite XCC national title. Woods finished second overall in the 2022 u23 World Cup standings off of a win in Andorra and a series of podium finishes.

Jens Schuermans will be the XC team’s veteran racer. The 29-year-old Belgian champion is a two-time Olympian, competing in Rio in 2016 and in Tokyo. He ended the 2022 season ranked 12th overall in the elite men’s standings and will be looking to improve that with the backing of GFORT.

“Joining the Giant Factory Off-Road Team feels really special to me,” Schuermans said. “I had a good 2022 season with multiple top-10s in the World Cup, but I just missed the podium on a few occasions. Podiums are where I want to be, and I believe this world-class team and its staff can help me achieve that goal. I’ve been testing my new Anthem Advanced Pro 29 for a few weeks now and I’m really happy with my new race machine.”

Alexndre Balmer roudns out Giant’s XC squad. The Swiss rider will split his time between World Cup mountain biking and WorldTour road racing with Team Jayco AlUla, which also races Giant bikes. The 22-year-old is a junior world champion in XC and a Swiss national champion on the road.

Enduro and Downhill

The gravity side of Giant Factory Off-Road Team is also adding youth and speed. Australian brothers Luke and Remy Meier-Smith add their long list of enduro and downhill successes to the team’s 2023 World Cup efforts.

“It’s a real privilege to be joining the Giant Factory Off-Road Team for 2023 and beyond,” said 20-year-old Luke Meier-Smith. “I grew up riding Giant bikes, so it’s really cool to come back to where it all began. I’ve already spent a few weeks on the new bike and I’m absolutely loving it. Excited to put my head down during the off-season and come out swinging this year.”

The elder Meier-Smith brings two elite men’s World Cup DH top-10 finishes and a string of u21 Enduro World Series wins, including the u21 EWS overall title to the team. Remy Meier-Smith, just 18 years old, already has his own list of accomplishments. That includes a silver in the junior men’s DH world championships and four junior World Cup podiums.

Canada’s McKay Vezina and France’s Youn Deniaud return to lead Giant into enduro’s World Cup era. After helping re-design the Reign, both hit career-high results in 2022. Josh Carlson will continue racing electric enduro events as that series also joins the World Cup in 2023.

On the downhill side, Rémi Thirion returns to lead the young Australian brothers into the downhill World Cups. The French rider already has a World Cup win on Giant’s Glory Advanced downhill bike and is currently working with the team to help develop the next generation for this coming season.

“This is a really exciting year ahead for the team on so many levels. It starts with our five new athletes,” said Giant Factory Off-Road Team Manager Sebastian Boyington. “It’s been great to see their first impressions and watch their confidence take off. It’s really a testament to our industry-leading sponsors and to the work our five returning athletes have done with Giant to help develop new bikes. We’re excited for the world to see what’s coming!”