Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.
Both young riders had standout seasons in 2021 riding for British outfit Trinity Racing. Batten was on World Cup podiums in Nové Město and Albstadt, while Blevins won the inaugural short track world championship in Val de Sole and then captured a World Cup win in Snowshoe, West Virginia.
- VN Pod: XCC world champ Christopher Blevins + 5 key road moments of 2021
- Think Haley Batten’s success happened overnight? Think again.
- Christopher Blevins becomes first American man to win MTB World Cup since 1994
Both also traveled to the Tokyo Olympics with Team USA.
“I’m excited about Haley and I heading back to the factory team for 2022,” Blevins told VeloNews. “We’ve been teammates on Specialized programs for years now, and this season’s factory team is the best we’ve seen.”
Blevins and Batten will both focus on World Cup podiums in 2022, in addition to wins at major stage races. For Batten, the move to Specialized’s factory team is a step toward honing race-specific skills.
“Being part of Specialized Factory Racing team for 2022 is extremely motivating for me,” she said. “The program is built with passion and big goals, which is an environment I’m excited to be part of. After progressing as an athlete in 2021, I believe that this team and the people involved will help me improve and prepare for the season to come. As my second season in the elite World Cup in 2022, I’d like to show more consistency and make my mark on big events like World Championships. I know that there are a lot of aspects of my preparation that I can continue to improve upon, so I plan to show that I am capable of being one of the top riders in the world.”
The American duo join the squad’s standout team of current and former national and world champions and Olympians: women’s short track world champ and Olympic silver medalist Sina Frei, 2020 XC world champ Jordan Sarrou, multi-time Italian national champ Gerhard Kerschbaumer, and two-time world junior champion Laura Stigger.
Blevins, who is targeting a Cape Epic podium in 2022 (among his rainbow jersey defense), is in good company on the new team: Frei and Stigger and Sarrou won the South African stage race in 2021.
“It is a race that I have wanted to for a long time, and now that I am old enough to handle it, I am going there to win,” he said. “With nine world cup XCO races in 2022, there are plenty of races to peak for, along with some short track races. The short track is inspiring, and I would love to fight for a podium spot there. Being on the same team as Jordan Sarrou and Gerhard Kerschbaumer is exciting, and I look forward to learning from them.”