While Lapierre has been active on the international mountain bike scene for many years, the French company has decided to take its sponsorship activities to the next level in 2010 with Team Lapierre International, composed of downhill, enduro and cross-country riders.
The cross-country team will be composed of three French riders: Alexis Vuillermoz (second place at the 2009 U23 World Championships and current U23 French national champion); Cécile Ravanel (2008 and 2009 French national champion); and Cédric Ravanel (sixth place at the 2009 World Championships).
All three riders will work towards the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The elder statesman of the team is ten-time downhill world champion Nicolas Vouilloz of France. According to a Team Lapierre International release, Vouilloz has decided to participate in enduro races in 2010, along with a selection of rally car races (Monte Carlo and San Remo). He will also be found at DH race paddocks in his role as product developer for Lapierre.
The downhill squad includes Sam Blenkinsop of New Zealand. At 21 years old, Blenkinsop has a World Cup victory under his belt and will be the leader of the new DH team, according to a Team Lapierre International release.
“I’m excited to ride for Lapierre next season. It’s going to be great to ride alongside … Nico Vouilloz, someone I really respect,” Blenkinsop said.
Also contending in downhill will be British rider Sam Flockhart. While riding in the junior category in 2009, Flockhart finished 15th in the overall of the Maxxis Cup. His main objective, according to the team, will be to learn from his more experienced teammates.
Team Lapierre International will be present at the World Cups, French Cups, the Sea Otter Classic, Whistler Festival, Enduro Series and the various national and international championships.
“At Lapierre, we’ve always been passionate about racing, and we’ve actively sponsored riders at all levels since the late eighties,” said Gilles Lapierre, managing director of Lapierre. “We’ve had the opportunity to work with some excellent athletes in the past, and for 2010 we’re excited to offer a professional structure and healthy race environment to some new riders.”