Following a strong 2017 season that saw its riders compete in a variety of off-road disciplines, all around the world, the Giant Factory Off-Road Team is currently preparing for 2018. This year the team welcomes back the heart of its roster, including two national champions. It will also have some new equipment sponsors as it continues its mission to develop cutting-edge race bikes and technologies.
Returning to lead the downhill unit is seven-time Colombian downhill national champion Marcelo Gutierrez. Gutierrez is joined by another national champion, Jacob Dickson of Ireland, along with American Eliot Jackson. These three DH riders will focus on World Cups and other major events on their Glory Advanced race bikes. The downhill squad is coming off a strong season that saw Gutierrez land two World Cup podiums and win the Garbanzo DH event at Crankworx Whistler for the fifth year in a row.
“My 2017 season started and finished well,” Gutierrez said. “This year I’m aiming to start strong again and improve my consistency throughout the season. I’m also looking forward to some new challenges, including racing a few enduro events. The one I’m most excited about is the Enduro World Series event in my hometown of Manizales, Colombia. It’s going to be interesting training for both disciplines.”
The 20-year-old Dickson had a breakout season in 2017, earning his first DH national championship in the elite category and scoring some impressive finishes on the World Cup circuit including a top-10 at the Mont-Saint-Anne round in Canada.
“I had a solid first season with the team last year and was really happy to get my first national championship in the elite ranks,” Dickson said. “For this year I hope to be consistently in the top-20 and hopefully on some podiums.”
The enduro squad also sees the return of some familiar faces. Australian Josh Carlson and Canadian Mckay Vezina will again focus on Enduro World Series events. Both had to battle through some injuries this year, but still posted several strong stage finishes. Each is looking forward to racing the 2018 season on their Reign Advanced race bikes in good health and top form. Joining those two is Rae Morrison of New Zealand, who is also part of Liv Cycling’s extensive roster of global riders, racing her Liv Hail Advanced bike at EWS and other major enduro events.
In addition to the global riders, the 2018 Giant Factory Off-Road Team also includes a group of North American regional athletes led by veteran XC racer Carl Decker. Those racers will focus on a variety of major enduro, XC and gravel racing events in North America aboard their Anthem, XtC and TCX race bikes. Joining Decker on the regional squad are XC racers Stephan Davoust and Cole Paton, plus enduro racer and BMX Olympic medalist Mike Day.
On the technical front, the team welcomes several key new partners for 2018, including Maxxis tires, Shimano drivetrain and brake components, and PRO cockpit components. Other key components and gear will include Giant WheelSystems, Giant Contact saddles and the Giant NeosTrack GPS computer. On the apparel side, the team will once again partner with 100% for DH and enduro race kits, eyewear and full-face DH helmets.
Giant will supply XC race kits, as well as enduro and XC helmets, including the Rail, Rev and Pursuit models, along with footwear including the Charge XC shoe, the Line enduro shoe and the Shuttle DH shoe.
Details on all the team’s riders, sponsors and gear—including a new suspension supplier— will be announced later this year, before the start of the World Cup DH and Enduro World Series race season.
You can follow the Giant Factory Off-Road Team all season long at facebook.com/giantfactoryteam.
Drivetrain & Brakes: Shimano
Seatpost: PRO & Giant dropper
Cycling shoes: Giant
Cycling Apparel: 100% (Gravity) / Giant (XC)
Cycling Eyewear: 100%
Helmet: Giant & 100% full-face
Computer: Giant NeosTrack GPS
Others: MRP chain guides, Honey Stinger, Park Tool, Finish Line, Thule & Jaybird