Written by: Fred Dreier
Two-time Olympian Todd Wells is heading back to his roots for 2009, leaving GT Bicycles to join the Specialized factory mountain bike team. Wells, 32, raced for Specialized as a semi pro and neo pro from 1996-1998, riding alongside Ned Overend, Steve Tilford, Shaun Palmer and Bart Brentjens.
After taking a break from racing, Wells rode with Pacific Cycles from 2001-2008, for the company’s Mongoose brand from 2001-2004 and then for the GT Bicycles brand from 2004-2008.
For 2009 Wells will follow a similar racing schedule as in years past, targeting North American cross-country events, as well as European World Cups and North American cyclocross races.
“For me the best memories (of racing with Specialized) were riding alongside Ned and Tilford and having those guys show me the ropes,” Wells said.
Wells’ GT teammate, South African Burry Stander, has also signed to ride for Specialized. Stander, 21, was the revelation of the 2008 World Cup season, winning the U23 series, finishing second at the June 1 round in Andorra and finishing fifth in the final standings.
Wells enjoyed his best-ever World Cup season, finishing 10th overall and landing on the podium at the August 31 round in Canberra, Australia.
“I’m stoked that I’m going to be able to ride with Burry again — we have a good rapport together, and we wanted to try and stick together as a team,” Wells said.
Wells and Stander join current UCI world champion Christoph Sauser and Norwegian Lene Byberg on the factory team.