After seven years of riding on Santa Cruz bikes and five for the Santa Cruz Syndicate, 2022 will see Luca Shaw switch things up and begin riding for Canyon instead. Alongside Troy Brosnan and Mark Wallace on the Collective Luca will starting afresh with a new bike, new team and new kit. We reached out to Luca o get some more information on his transfer and what he's looking forward to in the 2022 season.
How do you look back on the 2021 season?
When I look back on the 2021 season I feel like it was an uphill battle from the start. I broke a bone in my back in March at the Tennessee National and that really slowed me down. I didn't come into the World Cup season prepared and was still finding my speed even a couple races into the season. Later in the summer I started to ride like I knew I could and my results were getting better. Then I had another setback in Lenzerheide and injured my wrist. Luckily I was able to race in Snowshoe and finish the season on a good note!
How did it feel to return to the podium on home soil?
It was amazing. I wasn't even sure I was going to race early in the week because my wrist was really sore and painful. I just really wanted to give it a shot especially in front of the home crowd. So to end up on the podium at the last round was really sweet.
Why did you describe it as the best race of your career?
Coming off a couple really hard seasons, struggling to get my confidence back after little injuries and crashes was a lot harder than I expected. It had been a long time since my last podium and it was just a relief to get back up there. It made it even sweeter to do it in the US. I was also really happy to end my Syndicate career on a good note since I knew I was leaving. That meant a lot too.
Was it difficult to decide to leave a team like the Syndicate?
It was really hard. It's a top level team, the team I had always dreamed of riding for. The bikes and all the sponsors are top notch and the history and results speak for themselves. I honestly didn't ever see myself leaving. Somewhere along the lines I just had a gut feeling that I needed a change to keep progressing and that's what I did.
What are your best memories from your time on the Syndicate?
Honestly there's too many. We had a lot of good times and I am so grateful for those awesome years together. I know that we will make some more good memories in the future whether I am riding for them or not, so that makes me happy.
Do you have any regrets from your time on the Syndicate?
I don't have any regrets, I raced as hard as I could and at the end of the day I'm proud of what I achieved with them. In hindsight you can always look back and see things that you would have done differently but I am also glad I had those lessons. Sure I felt like I threw some races away and could have done better, but who doesn't. I don't feel like I have reached my potential yet, I'm still learning a lot each year.
Did you have a lot of team offers to choose between?
I was talking with a few teams. I didn't have as many offers as I have had in the past but I definitely had some interest from a couple top teams.
What made you decide to ride for Canyon?
There's a lot that goes into these decisions but I would say that the enthusiasm from them was a huge part. Obviously they are a proven team and they do things the right way so I knew that it was a great opportunity. They were very excited about the idea and went out of their way to set up a test on the bike as well, that showed me a lot. Gabe and Fabien were both really easy to work with from the start and they really made me feel good about coming on board. Also the chance to be teammates with Troy and Mark was a big one, they are both really good dudes and obviously super talented, fast racers so I think the whole team environment is something that I wanted to be a part of.
How have you been getting on with the Sender? How would you compare it to the V10?
I am really enjoying getting to know the Sender. Straight away I was super impressed with the balance of the bike and the way the suspension works. I have been riding the V10 for the past 7 years so I was a little nervous about going to a totally new platform but I feel like I am getting to grips with it really well. They are very different, the V10 is a really easy bike to ride and I feel like it's always going to work pretty well. The Sender is a lot more balanced when it's really rough. To me it feels like I can charge a little harder and not worry about going so deep in the travel. I think it's going to be a really good bike for World Cup racing!
What has been the biggest change so far on the new team?
I feel like with Canyon everyone is really focused on performance and trying to win races. We've already been testing so much in December and everyone on the team is really working hard. That's exactly what I feel like I need so I'm really stoked so far.
What are you most excited about for the season ahead?
I'm just excited to race with my new bike and team! I feel like this change has been really positive so far and it's given me a lot of energy.
What are your goals for the year?
My goals are to stay healthy and be at my best at all the races.