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Family Focus: Subaru-Trek Signs Batty

Emily Batty, Canada's U23 champ, swaps spots with Willow Koerber.

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Emily Batty at the 2010 World Cup race at Offenburg, Germany. Photo by Frank Bodenmueller
Emily Batty at the 2010 World Cup race at Offenburg, Germany. Photo by Frank Bodenmueller

Subaru-Trek’s signing of Emily Batty for the 2011 mountain bike season has kept the racing in the family.

Earlier this week, Subaru-Trek’s Willow Koerber announced her move to Trek World Racing, which was Batty’s team. Speculation had Batty, the current U23 Canadian champion, swapping spots with Koerber on the Subaru-Trek squad. That was confirmed by Trek and Jon Rourke, Subaru-Trek team manager, on Thursday.

“Contracts were up so that was our big push, to sign athletes as an organization — Trek,” Rourke said.

Koerber, who has won two bronze medals at the two most recent mountain bike world championships as well as placing second overall on the World Cup in 2010, wanted to focus exclusively on international racing. With its base in the United Kingdom and focus on a European schedule, Trek World Racing afforded 32-year-old Koerber that opportunity.

Rourke also had to consider the domestic side of the equation with a decade-long, non-cycling industry sponsor in Subaru, a rarity in today’s mountain biking world.

“It was about rider goals and support and how that melded with the marketing goals of Trek and our sponsor.” Rourke said, adding that the team’s focus is the same as in past seasons — World Cups, national Olympic points and national championships.

“If anything else, adding Emily diversifies our opportunities,” he said. “We could have different national champions.”

Batty, 24, will add youth to a roster that includes Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Sam Schultz, Heather Irmiger and Russell Finsterwald. Batty will continue to race a full World Cup schedule along with U.S. and Canadian events.

“Trek World Racing was great,” Batty said in a release. “With Subaru-Trek, I’ll continue to get the best possible support. Also, Subaru-Trek offers a family feel.  Being around that collection of riders who are all at the top of their game will be very motivating.”