Giant Factory Off-Road Team (GFORT) is one of the longer continuously running teams on the World Cup circuit and, for 2019, the team is bringing back more XC fire power to the international scene.
The team is also building out its Enduro World Series team, while the core trio of downhill racers returns for another year.
Fast future – GFORT Cross Country
GFORT’s cross country duo is young, but fast. Australia’s Cameron Wright returns to the team after a successful junior tenure. Wright won junior XCO world championships in 2017, and Australian and Oceanic championships last year. This year, the young rider will take on the World Cup’s competitive under-23 category. “It’s definitely going to be challenging with my first World Cup season,” says Wright. “The goal is to give it my all and be in the top-10.”
Colorado’s Cole Patton will join in the under-23 ranks on the World Cup XCO circuit. The 21-year-old American will look to convert last year’s North American podium finishes into a solid debut season of international racing.
From Privateer to Factory – Giant Enduro squad
Giant’s Enduro World Series team will get a big boost with the signing of Youn Deniaud. The 22-year-old French rider finished 10th overall in the EWS last season. A huge accomplishment for someone so young, and more impressive since Deniaud was racing as a privateer. Deniaud was named “EWS Breathrough of the Year” for his performance last season.
“After my first season racing the Enduro World Series as a privateer, being a part of the Giant team is just awesome,” Deniaud said, adding “This is a big step for me.” All eyes will be on the French rider to see what he can do with the backing of Giant Factory support and sponsors.
Returning GFORT riders, Canada’s McKay Vezina and Australia’s Josh Carlson will be looking forward to a fresh start when the series resumes in New Zealand this year. Both riders spent parts of 2018 battling through injury on the demanding EWS circuit. The trio will mix it up on their Reign Advanced and Trance Advanced Pro 29 bikes, while also working to develop the next generation of Giant race rigs.
Team of National champions – Giant Factory World Cup DH
Eight-time Colombian downhill national champion Marcelo Gutierrez returns to once again lead the G-FORT’s World Cup downhill team. He’ll be joined by Ireland’s two-time national champion, Jacob Dickson, and California-based downhill racer and stats wizard Eliot Jackson.
Gutierrez has already scored two wins at Urban DH events in Colombia, giving him a positive start to the year. “I’m extrememly comfortable on my new downhill bike,” the Colombian champ says, “I’ve made a few key changes like having a new trainer and sports psychologist. This year looking really good.”
21-year-old Dickson was sidelined early on last season with an injury. The Irish champ isn’t planning on holding back in 2019, though. “My goals are to be consistently in the top-20 for every World Cup,” says Dickson, “and to enjoy every race.”