Cross-country star Geoff Kabush finds a home
By Jason Sumner, VeloNews associate editor
Following an offseason that nearly saw the Maxxis mountain-bike teammerge with the Giant squad, the orange-and-black, tire-maker sponsoredteam is back with a new line-up that includes Canadian cross-country honchGeoff Kabush.The merger never did happen, but with Kabush and Colombian climbingspecialist Cesar Grajeles coming on board to join gravity racing holdoversColin Bailey and John Kirkcaldie, Maxxis has a balanced squad that cancontend in almost any race.The team also added former Volvo-Cannondale and Trek-Volkswagen teammanager Eric Wallace. April Lawyer, a mainstay with Maxxis over the years,has put together a solo program that is backed primarily by Puma and Maxxis.Grajeles, the KoM winner at last year’s T-Mobile International racein San Francisco, will split time between Maxxis and Jittery Joe’s, anAmerican D3 road team.“I have to admit I don’t know a ton about him yet,” said Wallace. “ButI’ve been told he’s won the Colombian national mountain biking title severaltimes, and obviously his result in San Francisco last year speaks for itself.”Kabush, who joins Maxxis after seven years with Kona, will be lookingto make a run at one of two spots on the men’s Canadian Olympic mountain-biketeam. He’ll focus on the World Cups, while the rest of the team will bemostly based in the U.S. to contest the NORBA National series.“I really think Geoff is due to uncork some big results this year,”predicted Wallace. “I went up and spent some time with him at his homein Victoria [British, Columbia]. He’s been training really hard.”Kabush has since moved his training base south to Boulder, Colorado,where he hopes to lay the ground work for what would be his second Olympicappearance. He finished ninth at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia.“I think the fresh start will be a good thing,” Kabush said. “I kindof felt like Kona made me an offer almost hoping that I found another team.”(see “Kabushoff Kona“)New Zealander Kirkcaldie, meanwhile, has been one of the circuit’s mostconsistent downhillers, taking a pair of overall NORBA season titles in2001 and 2002. Bailey is considered one of America’s more promising up-and-comers,but has yet to put together consistently strong results.All of the team’s riders will be aboard Turner bikes. Kabush says thecompany will be producing some one-off hardtails for “short track and less-technicalcourses.” Otherwise, the XC tandem will be riding the Turner Burner dualsuspension model. Other team sponsors include RockShox, SRAM, SDG saddles,Sun Ringlé wheels, TruVativ components and of course Maxxis tires.