German enduro racers Raphaela Richter and Tanja Naber have created a new EWS pro team, the Juliana Free Agents, for 2021. Up until now, the two have raced separately as privateers, but since both already represented Juliana as part of Juliana's existing Free Agents program, it made sense to team up and become official with the EWS.
Raphaela, age 23, exploded onto the enduro race scene while still in optometry school, earning a career-best 2nd place in Les Orres and a 3rd in Zermatt in 2019 alongside her several German national titles. She can throw down on a downhill course, too, as she was the highest-placed German at the 2020 Leogang World Champs with a 6th place in the Elite Women's field.
Tanja, age 33, will handle most of the administrative work for the team, but she's also a strong racer, with several top-20 EWS results and a respectable Trans Provence campaign in 2019. Tanja and Raphaela said they have had a great dynamic together from the start, and their goal is to create a positive team atmosphere with Raphaela's brothers as mechanics and support crew. The pair will travel in camper vans, which they say reflects their racing approach and team name.
While the two share Juliana, Intend, and SQlab as sponsors, they also each have individual supporters. Raphaela represents Levelnine, Schwalbe, and Dahlmeyr, while Tanja rides for iXS, Trickstuff, Maxxis, Tunap, and trailguide.net.
The bike is complete with stylish frame protection.
It was important for Raphaela and Tanja to maintain their own individual relationships with sponsors. For example, Raphaela rides for Schwalbe while Tanja is on Maxxis tires.
Their drivetrains are a mix of SRAM and e*Thirteen.
Intend Suspension and SQ Lab: Some finer things in life.
Tanja started running the Blackline Ebonite fork last summer and decided to keep running what works for her, rather than switch to the newer Bandit that Raphaela rides.
Trickstuff Piccola brakes are the lightest MTB brakes around.
The very similar bike builds are personalized to each rider's preferences and individual sponsors.
Both of their bikes strike a nice balance with parts from small, niche companies and tried-and-true household names.