The thrilling journey of the newly-formed Wilier-Vittoria MTB Factory Team officially begins at Vittoria Park. Our remarkable venue, served as the backdrop for the grand introduction of the revamped cross-country team.
As we step into 2024, the team maintains its formidable presence, featuring a squad of 10 athletes poised to conquer the most prestigious stages in the XCO and XCM world.
Introducing a breath of fresh air to this chapter are the vibrant colors of the new jersey, a lightweight and aerodynamic creation designed by Gobik. The color palette gracefully transitions from deep petrol blue to refreshing aqua green, complemented by matte-finished shorts with a minimalist and sleek design.
"An important journey begins. For Vittoria it's a new experience to work alongside a team as title sponsor, and we've chosen to do so for several reasons," explained Stijn Vriends, Chairman & CEO of Vittoria. "First of all because of the incredible results achieved in recent years, and then because we're an Italian brand, which joins a symbol of Italian spirit like Wilier, which has reached the top of the international rankings both on and off-road. By working together with athletes of this level we aim to further improve our product, creating a context of innovation that can take us even further upwards”.
"We are now in our third year as title sponsor and it is undeniable that seeing our brand so often at the top of the most important MTB races at an international level is a huge satisfaction," said Andrea and Enrico Gastaldello, CEO of Wilier Triestina. "With Vittoria we have a close collaboration on the road that has been going on for quite some time and now we aim to strengthen it in the off-road sector as well. We now have a complete offer for gravel and off-road and, since we are in the Olympic year, we really hope to see as many Wilier bicycles as possible in Paris 2024”.
Also confirmed is the bike that the riders will be riding around the world, the Wilier Urta Max SLR. Modern and versatile, it features a high-performing 120mm suspension system, both front and rear. It excels in precision steering and safety, boasting a 67.5° steering angle, a minimized stack, and an extended reach for a more aggressive racing position. With a low center of gravity facilitated by a 40mm BB Drop and handlebars that have a negative tilt of 27°, this bike is designed to excel. (Discover all the details of the WILIER URTA MAX SRL).
When it comes to off-road competitions, however, Wilier is always on the ball: along with the Urta Max SLR, in fact, the athletes will also be able to count on the Usma SLR, the hardtail MTB that stands out for its lightness, simplicity, modern design and ease of handling in terms of both mechanical assistance and suspension settings. In addition, Wilier-Vittoria riders will also have an Urta Hybrid E-Light Bike, the ideal training companion for improving their off-road riding technique.
Riders can count on Vittoria's top-of-the-line tires and inserts. Thanks to its slick tread pattern in the centre and low blocks arranged in scales on the sides, Terreno XC Race rolls fast on the straights and gives support when cornering and braking. Mezcal XC Race is smooth and aggressive in bends thanks to its low-profile blocks. Barzo XC Race will be the tire of choice for the most extreme conditions. In the event of a puncture and consequent air loss, the ultra-light Air-Liner Light insert will provide the support needed to reach the technical area, or the finish line, with minimal loss of time.
"After a few years of forced absence, it's a great satisfaction to be able to present the team again in a big way," said the team's General Manager, Marco Trentin. "In 2024 we will give continuity to our philosophy, with a team that is now historic for the marathon, and a group of young people for the cross country. There are few teams that do double duty as we do, it's an important effort, and for this I would like to thank all the people who work behind the scenes to keep this team going".
The XCO group welcomes the young Danish rider Sofie Pedersen among the elites, who enters the big leagues with the U23 European champion jersey, won in Anadia, and four victories in the U23 World Cup. Alongside her is Giada Specia from Belluno, who triumphed in the Alpago stage of the Italian International Series last year.
The men's team relies on Simone Avondetto, former U23 world and European champion, eager to put behind a challenging 2023 due to mononucleosis, and the British rider Cameron Orr, also a winner at Alpago in the Italian International Series last July.
The ambitions remain high at the U23 level, with the Danish national champion Gustav Pedersen seeking to continue his growth process and the newcomer Elian Paccagnella. The South Tyrolean, born in 2005, is the vice-world champion among juniors and the Italian champion, making him one of the best international prospects for off-road. Regarding new arrivals, the Swiss rider Ginia Caluori stands out, vice-world champion among U23s and a multi-placer in the World Cup, who in 2024 will be in her last year of the category and is considered by many as a top contender for all the season's major events.
The trio competing fiercely in XCM will also be of great caliber. Starting with the flagship, Fabian Rabensteiner, winner of the World Cup and the Nove Mesto race, as well as the Andalucia Bike Race and a stage of the Cape Epic in South Africa. The South Tyrolean will try to confirm the success of 2023, accompanied by the experience of former Italian champion Samuele Porro and Austrian national champion Daniel Geismayr.
"The enthusiasm is sky-high for this new season," explains team manager Massimo De Bertolis. "Our XCO project aims to continue growing with the young athletes we have, who have repeatedly demonstrated their qualities. The addition of talents like Caluori and Paccagnella goes in this direction. I am confident that our Elite riders can send important signals in the World Cup. In the Marathon, starting again with a certainty like Rabensteiner, we hope to repeat the splendid 2023. It's going to be fun.”
To see the team in action, there won't be a long wait, as from February 8th to 11th, a part of the squad will be racing in Spanish territory with the Mediterranean Epic in Oropesa del Mar, while the remainder will be at the Hero Abu Dhabi Hatta from February 9th to 11th.