Kate Courtney & Lars Forster Officially Join SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing

Jan 3, 2019
by SCOTT Sports  

PRESS RELEASE: SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing team

The SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing team is planning its future towards the next Olympics with quite significant changes. Both, World Champion Kate Courtney (USA) and European Champion Lars Forster (SUI) join the team. With Olympic and World Champion, Nino Schurter as well as Andri Frischknecht, two riders remaining from the previous years. Matthias Stirnemann (SUI) and Michiel van der Heijden (NED) will leave the team.


Not many had Kate Courtney on their shortlist for a medal at the World Championships. Although, she won Cape Epic and the US National Title in her first year as an elite pro rider, she was considered to be a dark horse only by some that knew about her potential. However, with the ride of her life, she not only surprised her competition but also the whole mountain bike community. SCOTT-SRAM believed in her talent already prior to the World Championships.


Born at the base of Mount Tamalpais in Marin, California. Kate's home-trails are the ones known to be the first ones in the history of mountain biking.


23 year old, Kate Courtney was born and lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where she also graduated from Stanford University, before she set her full focus on the sport. The 2x US National Champion won the U23 Overall World Cup in 2017 and a silver medal at the U23 World Championships.


Another strong addition to SCOTT-SRAM is Lars Forster. As with many Swiss riders, the former U23 World Cup Champion has stood silently in the shadow of Nino Schurter. However, at the European Championships in Glasgow, he stepped out of this shadow as he crossed the finish line in first. This all-round talent is also currently the Swiss Cyclo-Cross National Champion. Lars is familiar to the World Cup podium and is a Top 10 UCI ranked rider.

Learn more about the team on www.scott-sram.com

Photos: SCOTT Sports and Red Bull Media House

Editors Note: New for 2019, Lars Forster is now sponsored by Red Bull



MENTIONS: @SCOTT-Sports




78 Comments

  • + 52
 Great Scott!
  • + 11
 Scottie beamed her up!
  • + 15
 Kate Scott
  • + 6
 S'cott to be the ultimate dream team
  • + 8
 She scott a bright future.
  • - 1
 Just Scott it
  • + 4
 That's just Genius from Scott.
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: you might get injured with a stretch like that
  • + 4
 I’ve never been more appreciated.
  • + 1
 @scotty1212: I guess you didn't know
  • + 4
 This here article doesn't have a lot to say, but here is an interview with KC that really lays out her plans and the difference between being on a Factory team (Sped) and an all-out performance-driven Sponsored team like Scott-SRAM with big goals in mind:

www.velonews.com/2019/01/news/qa-kate-courtneys-big-move-to-scott-sram-team_482558
  • + 17
 Finally an official announcement of where someone is going, and not "parting ways". BTW, can we please find a new phase to use when a rider leaves a team.
  • + 34
 Rider has gone 1x-bye?


(ya, ya, awful, I know)
  • + 24
 Partnership derailled?


(that's awful too)
  • + 6
 The struggle is real. We went with "parting ways" as well as "says goodbye" and "bids farewell" etc.
  • - 1
 @brianpark: Maybe just try playing it straight and simple. Something like, "Miranda Miller not returning to specialized next season".
  • + 3
 @rrolly: That's redundant. In "1X", the "X" stands for "by". So what you really mean is "Rider has gone 1-bye".
  • + 12
 a spread sheet with 3 columns would do: rider name, team 2018 and team 2019
  • + 18
 @brianpark: "utters adieu"? "exclaims saynoara"? "pronounces cheerio"?
  • + 4
 Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.
  • + 4
 @seraph: unless one is saying 1bye-bye...
  • + 8
 Let's just all be honest with ourselves and go with "got offered more money by _______ so will ride for them in ____."
  • + 0
 You will understand if you are making a living based on clicks and article counts.
  • + 11
 Being able to learn from Nino all aspects of what goes in to being so dominate as he is will be invaluable for Kate. I can see her becoming just as dominate from this relationship.
  • + 12
 Double Rainbow whoa oh my god, what does it mean?
  • + 8
 Still can't believe Specialized let her go. I would love to know what went into that whole thing. Will be amazing to see how she develops alongside Nino!
  • + 5
 The story that seems to pop up the most about how it went down was that the decision to move on from specialized was made before the season started... Only issue, not sure if it was HERS or the big S'
  • + 2
 @TheBearDen: I heard somewhat differently, it was later in the season before the world championships... who knows.
  • + 5
 I can't remember where I heard this, probably on some podcast somewhere, but wasn't there some drama or nonsense that went into who Specialized was going to sponsor/pay for the World Championships or something? And they paid or gave more support to other athletes, or had decided they were going to let her go anyways, and then she won World Champs and now has a huge social media following / is marketable / etc, and they basically effed it all up? Anyone remember hearing/reading the same thing?
  • + 4
 @gbeaks33: That would be so hilarious if true!
  • + 2
 She was gone before Worlds, I've heard Specialized is bringing Jenny Rissveds aboard and let Kate go. Big mistake it seems.
  • + 0
 @OnTheRivet: Jenny Rissveds is cool, I like her. Not a bad signing, but obviously she won't have the marketability that Kate does right now. And I have no clue if Jenny will be as competitive, either.
  • + 5
 @OnTheRivet: Only a mistake if Rissveds comes back unprepared. If she comes back riding to her previous form Specialized could have a consistent top 5 racer added to their roster. I doubt she would come back unprepared.
  • + 2
 @LexB: yeah Rissveds was killing it before she disappeared, she’s be a top competitor for sure.
  • + 4
 @gbeaks33: Specialized has an odd relationship with racing on the MTB side from my fan perspective. I just don't think it's their thing. They don't seem invested in their teams for XC, DH, Enduro, etc. for the long-run and thus don't view the athletes they sponsor as a long-term partnership/relationship. It's like they sponsor racing because they have to rather than it's a something the brand is committed to doing.

Complete contrast with Santa Cruz who see's their DH team like its segment in their bike lineup. It's going to be there and it's part of what SC does like making bikes.

Not saying one way is better or more right than the other. That's just the vibe I get. You sign a contract with specialized and you're probably there for the length of the contract and then moving on..
  • + 6
 @dhx42: Don't be fooled, teams like Santa Cruz are also just trying to sell you as many bikes as possible. Sponsoring race teams is nothing more than marketing/advertising and Santa Cruz will only go to the extent that they believe the teams and riders they are sponsoring are leading to bike sales. Santa Cruz might try to sell you that family vibe, but thats all it is, a sales pitch. While Specialized takes a different more business like approach to it, the intent is all the same.
  • + 4
 @sino428: Yeah, I think everyone get's that. No one is confused that sponsoring teams/riders is a marketing concept and part of a brands marketing strategy and developing brand identity.

I am merely pointing out that SC has made sponsoring/supporting a race team as a key pillar of their brand identity (i.e. marketing) whereas Specialized does not as a reason for why it's somewhat of a revolving door for riders...

As I said above, I am not saying one way is better or worse. Simply pointing out the distinction as an explanation as to why a rider like Kate may move on to another team.
  • + 8
 @kipvr:
Jenny stood back from competition to concentrate on her mental health. More recently she has stepped away from social media as it is the best thing for her at this time.
Mental health issues can happen to anyone, at anytime and in sport are often hidden more than elsewhere. The more we can be open and honest about mental health, the better it will be for all. tup

Ps. Not having a go at what you wrote, just spreading awareness Beer
  • + 2
 @gbeaks33: Specialized definitely blew the best opportunity they had in a generation most likely. She's the most exciting/marketable female cyclist I can remember. Her SUFFER face is just too good, so tough!!!!
  • + 10
 Scott better step up and buy some sparkly paint.
  • + 7
 Poor Finn!!!
  • + 4
 Specialized, ya done messed up, son. Scott will be looking good with that rainbow jersey under their logo all year. Congrats, Kate. Have fun crushing next season!
  • + 1
 I'm happy for kate , wish her well and many wins with Scott. Company's seem to be stupid now days, they always let the good ones leave. Respect your hard workers and your future talent, or they will be packen cuz you be slaken.
  • + 4
 How to replace Jenny Rissveds
  • + 1
 Not a huge XC fan but, Courtney is a legitimately inspirational student athlete and her world's win was as captivating and entertaining as any race I've seen in the last decade.
  • + 0
 She’s hugely marketable and had a great season no doubt. From Spesh’s perspective they likely get far more return out of their road teams(plural) and direct more there.

There needs to be some sort of a biking free agency. You could’ve franchised her this year.
  • + 1
 Say what you want about the lycra-wearing XC dorks. This team is STACKED: Mens, Womens, AND U23 champ all under the same brand.
  • + 2
 Man specialized letting go of good young talent her, Gwin, maybe Bruni next year geez
  • + 2
 Follow the money....
  • + 0
 @yupstate: It's absolutely outrageous how they just change brands to get paid more to do the same job. They should just have to choose one brand and one pay check for life /s
  • + 1
 @Clarkeh: I think your flag is wrong. Does Pinkbike still have a Soviet Union flag?
  • + 1
 @yupstate: /s is /sarcasm
  • + 2
 Congrats Kate!

Looking forward to the Fast Life with Finn and Loïc????????????
  • + 1
 My emoji’s didn’t work :/
  • + 1
 Scott has Gwinn money...surprising they never made any hint of a dent in that rumor mill...
  • + 0
 They may have Gwin money, but they don’t have a Gwin worthy bike. The Gambler is meh...
  • + 2
 Hope the Trek ladies can pose Challenge
  • + 7
 Don't think Trek is too worried. She won world champs but Batty and Neff were consistently beating her all year. It will be a good rivalry though!
  • - 3
 @ianswilson815: "Batty and Neff were consistently beating her all year." KC was first year elite and won the World Champs while Batty is still chasing her first elite win... so much for beating her consistently all year.
Next season will be tougher for Emily with Jolanda in the team but I hope she will have that first win she's working very hard to make it.
  • + 2
 We know Neff is strong and Batty had a great year, hoping to see her continue that trend... as well as Kate.
  • + 18
 @bikeinbih: They did beat her consistently all year on the WC circuit. She finished 8th overall while Neff and Batty finished 1st and 3rd. I'm not a believer that a one and done world championship is a reflection of the best. Consistency throughout the WC calendar shows that more clearly. She didn't make one podium all season, but every podium included some combination of Neff, Langvad, and Batty (or even all three for the last two stops).

That said, she has a very bright future to try and beat THEM consistently. Don't forget how many other super strong women there are racing XCO now though too. I found the women's XCO to be the most exciting mtb racing of the season, and I'm stoked for the 2019 season broadcasts.
  • + 3
 @LexB: She was a first year Elite, won U23 World Cup and finished 2nd in u23 Worlds. Certainly a fantastic year as a first year rider. I'm pretty sure Emily Batty would give up her full seasons results for the Rainbow jersey, she seems to no be able to put it together on the day having never won a World Cup in * years of trying.
  • + 3
 Oh, the eternal 'Cup vs. Champs' drama.
I'm not so sure Batty give her full season for the rainbows. Neither Nino or whatever rider on the field.
I think consistency pays out more than anything. Like Van Der Poel, w/o champs but bashing out the cycross field over and over
  • + 3
 @OnTheRivet: Great accomplishments to say the least, but being consistently top 3 on the world stage is better marketing in my estimation. I doubt Batty would trade her TV time all season as a consistent podium finisher for a one day splash.

Honestly they're all amazing riders and I love watching a good race.
  • + 1
 @LexB: It was KC's first year in elite and she won the WC. I would also agree with the guess that Batty would trade her world cup 3rd for the rainbow jersey... Anyways, I like them both and Neff, Prevot, Langvad are also my favorites, women's XCO is absolutely fantastic...
  • + 1
 @StFred: The difference between VDP in CX and Batty in XCO is that Mathieu won everything in CX (he was Elite World Champ in 2015) while Batty is still trying to win her first ever World Cup race or World Champs, so I don't think they can be compared.
  • + 2
 Y'all are missing the point... it was her first season at that level and she was carrying a full time course load as a college student while competing. What she accomplished was extremely impressive and not being as dominant throughout the season as people with more experience and less distraction takes nothing away from her success, or her ability.
  • + 1
 @badbadleroybrown: She did that while she was a U23. She graduated a couple years ago. Still impressive to get the WC in her first year. I was just responding to the OP about the Trek comment saying they are doing ok given their past results.
  • + 1
 @bikeinbih: exactly this. Kate will continue to grow and improve as a rider whilst she matures with training, more experience and uses the confidence being world champion brings. XC riders seem to get better with age and more miles in their legs, this is just the start for Kate and her #SparkleWatts
  • + 1
 @badbadleroybrown If Jim Croce’s corpse was able to read the Velonews mini interview even he would see that this is about one thing only and the this is Kate giving herself the best possible chance of qualifying for the next Olympics. The mentorship of Nino and Frischy give her that. She chose well.
  • + 2
 @endlessblockades: I've never argued otherwise... I think it's a brilliant move to a team with demonstrated commitment and success to XC at the highest levels of competition over an extended period of time that will not only help her develop her talent and reach her potential but support her Olympic and professional aspirations as well.

@ianswilson815: Pretty sure she graduated class of 18... and she only turned 23 last October. Nitpicking details of dates aside, my point is that she's basically still a kid learning how to be a pro while balancing a lot of other stuff and still achieved what a lot of other riders never will in their careers. It'll be interesting to see where she goes from here with no distractions, some personal experience to lean on, and a wealth of veteran experience within the team to learn from.
  • + 1
 Has anyone complained about the editing on the video thumbnail yet? Or should I start that now?
  • + 1
 Why are the stem and bar two separate pieces?
  • + 2
 Scott, the XC armada
  • + 2
 AWESOME!!!!
  • - 2
 Last season was good for her first in the Elite. This season is the time to put it all together. I could care less if it's with Spec, or Scott or mongoose. It's all about the racing. I hope Nino steps up to help her.
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