Slovenian UCI MTB Team is ready for the full UCI World Cup season with top riders from Great Britain, Greece and Slovenia. New name in the team is Jessica Stone, 2010 British National Champ and top contender in the World Cup. She will join Harry Heath, Nejc Rutar, Žiga Pandur and Maria Michalogiannaki, all aiming to improve their best results from the last season.
Harry Heath towards his career result, 18th place at La Bresse World Cup 2011. Photo: uniortoolsteam.com
Season 2011 was a huge success for Unior Tools Team with top 20 finishes in the World Cup, top ten results in overall standings of the iXS European Cup and many other podiums on national and international events all over Europe. “Now we are aiming higher, we want to be top 15 team in the World Cup and get the UCI Elite status for next season,” says team manager Tine Mahkovec. With 100% focus on the downhill, new top-level rider and a better partnership with team sponsors this is a realistic goal.
Jessica Stone joins the team
Jess "The Rolling" Stone was part of Trek Gravity Girls in 2011. Photo: uniortoolsteam.com
Jess “the Rolling” Stone is 2010 British National Champion and top rider in the World Cup. 22-year old Jess is now aiming even higher: “With the support of the team I will be able to improve on the results I have gained in previous years. I aim for top 10 in the World Cup, which I think I will be capable to attain. I think that the team is an important platform for me to work from - as a racer, you need that support to push you further, so I am really looking forward to this season and progressing further into the top ranks of this sport.” As you might expect from a progressive rider like Jess, she also has another national title in her mind. “I will be racing the British Downhill Series and my National Championships this year. I am aiming high, you do not go into a race and think 'I'd like to be number 2 today'! It would be amazing to get another National Champs title, so I will work hard,” says Jess.
Harry Heath is pushing to next level
Unior is Slovenian hand tool manufacturer, with over 90 years of tradition. Top quality tools, all made in Europe with life-time warranty. Photo: uniortoolsteam.com
18th place in the World Cup was best result for the talented British rider that will ride in the Unior Tools jersey for the second year in a row. Harry Heath is now aiming for better top results and consistency throughout the year. “2011 was a great step up with getting onto the Unior team and that support helped me hit some long term goals of mine. To be working with the same amazing guys will again make a big difference as we know how each other works so when we get to the first race it'll be down to racing,” says Harry one month before the first World Cup. “Like every off season I have found new things to improve on and it will be great to put them to work racing this year. Also I will be racing more of the British National series including National Championships which I'm really looking forward to as its always good to race at home.”
Top riders from Slovenia and Greece
Nejc Rutar, the fastest Slovenian. Photo: uniortoolsteam.com
Greek champion Maria Michalogiannaki is training hard to improve her best World Cup result from last season: “This year I plan to race the complete World Cup for the first time and get constant top results on the Sunday finals. Unlike the last year I had a chance to ride my downhill bike more and with the other training I’m ready for the season.”
Slovenian riders in the team are the same – Nejc Rutar and Žiga Pandur have a great season behind them with 30th and 35th place on the World Chamipinships, top 10 position in the overall iXS European Cup standings and multiple double victories on the home ground. “Personal goals are very high, but with the right approach they are realistic. Season starts early, but due to work with top cycling coach Robert Pintarič I will be ready for South Africa,” says highly motivated Nejc. Žiga has a very similar training program and goals for the season: “I will race the complete World Cup for the first time, so there was no real off-season break for us. We have to be in top shape soon, especially for the course in Pietermaritzburg. During the World Cup season we are aiming high also on European events and top of the podium on the national events.”
“Industry” is working with the team
Team will ride custom built Trek Session 9.9 bikes. Photo: uniortoolsteam.com
“After big team success in 2011 we further increased the partnership with our sponsors and are now able to give our riders even better support. With the sponsorship of a global company like Unior Tools we are aiming high in the World Cup, but we are also pushing our riders to race at their maximum on their national events,” says team manager Tine Mahkovec. Next to Unior bicycle tools, Trek Bicycles is also a big partner of the team and new Session 9.9 is the official team bike. Other team sponsors are SRAM, adidas Eyewear, Mapei, Bontrager, GoBandit, Motorex, SixSixOne, Royal, Sapim, FiveTen, Toper, ODI, Crank Brothers, Edelweiss RS and Fun Bike Park Kranjska Gora.
Team definetly has the "tools" to achieve their goals in 2012.
Official website of the team is www.uniortoolsteam.com
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Harry Heath at home video from 2011
Harry Heath 5-10 promo video