Emily Batty and Canadian U23 National Champion Laurie Arsenault will form the Canyon MTB Racing team for 2021.
"It's a dream to be on a team like this one, and it's a great opportunity for me to learn from the best and with the best," Arsenault says. "I remember watching Emily at the Olympics and getting her first National title, and she was someone I wanted to be like. To be able to race on a team with her is fantastic—I've never been on a pro team before, so to be on a program that's this well-supported, I'm just so excited."
Keeping the team small in the first year of racing was an important decision for Morka, the team owner and race and marketing director. "We are taking a crawl, walk, run approach," he says. "We want to have a good year and prioritize quality over having a large squad—for now."
"I feel like it's taken years to reach this level of support. We've worked hard to connect within the cycling community and achieve performances at the highest level. A strong group of people supporting my dreams and aspirations in sport has allowed me to build our own race program and pursue this next chapter. I can't thank Canyon and all of the new team partners enough for believing in the team and everything I have yet to accomplish in mountain biking and sport. 2021, let's go!"
"I also have big World Championships, World Cup, and Olympic goals," Batty adds. "I'm really chasing that podium at every race. I want to go big on the performance side of things this year: I'm most excited to get back to Val Di Sole for World Championships."
Canyon MTB Racing is focused on providing a closer look behind the scenes through different modes of content creation and new initiatives with sponsors. "We have the vision to continue growing within the sport and beyond," Morka explains. "We wanted to build something completely different while creating a program that can stand the test of time, long after Emily decides she is done racing all while helping develop next-generation athletes on and off the bike."
This year, the program is supported by title sponsor Canyon, along with Bio Racer, Wahoo, Shimano, Abus, Fox, Schwalbe, DT Swiss, Lululemon, 100%, Vital Proteins, 4iiii, Ergon, Hyperice, UniorTools, Evoc, The Feed.com and Momum.
"We have big goals, for sure," Morka says. "I would love to see our team become the number one ranked XCO team in the world. That certainly doesn't happen overnight, but I'm confident we can get there in the near future." Hopeful that racing plans will come together in a big way, Batty and Arsenault gear up to tackle an ambitious schedule.
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