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Mountain

MTB News and Notes: Leuchs signs with Bianchi

With the recent departure of Jose Antonio Hermida to the Merida squad, the Bianchi mountain bike team had a void to fill. Not anymore, though. On Thursday, the European-based team announced that it had signed Kiwi cross-country rider Kashi Leuchs for the 2004 season. This follows Leuch’s season with Maxxis-Trek, where he won his first ever Swiss Cup and was seventh at the world championships. The ’04 Bianchi team will also include reigning World Cup overall champ Julien Absalon and marathon specialist Thomas Dietsch. “I'm very excited about this opportunity,” Leuchs said in a prepared

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By VeloNews Interactive

With the recent departure of Jose Antonio Hermida to the Merida squad, the Bianchi mountain bike team had a void to fill. Not anymore, though. On Thursday, the European-based team announced that it had signed Kiwi cross-country rider Kashi Leuchs for the 2004 season. This follows Leuch’s season with Maxxis-Trek, where he won his first ever Swiss Cup and was seventh at the world championships.

The ’04 Bianchi team will also include reigning World Cup overall champ Julien Absalon and marathon specialist Thomas Dietsch.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Leuchs said in a prepared statement. “This is a very well established team on the international circuit with a great history. They have a very professional approach to the sport, and they will offer me all the support needed to reach my potential in this all important upcoming Olympic year.”

Like all top cross-country riders, the Olympics are the No. 1 goal for 2004, and Leuchs recently raced an E1 category event on the near completed Olympic course in Athens, where he finished third behind race winner Liam Killeen and former Olympic champion Bart Brentjens.

“It was tough on the legs and mind to be racing that hard at the end of the season, but it was extremely valuable to ride the course in race conditions,” Leuchs explained. “I learned a lot. It’s a very good circuit that reminds me a little of the Olympics in Sydney. There are not any extremely technical sections, but at race pace, the loose soil and rocky ground make it very testing. There are three climbs on each 6km lap, and very little time for resting. It will be a true mountain-bike champion that wins on this course.”