January 1st is the traditional start and end date for mountain bike contracts so we've had plenty of riders announcing program changes in the past few days.
They now have until January 15 to get new contracts shored up and signed before the teams will submit their rosters to the UCI. The full list of teams is normally published in early February but we're sure there will be plenty of teams wanting to get their announcements out with a nice shiny press release before then.
Here's a round up of all the biggest announcements you may have missed over the past few days.
Joe Barnes leaves Canyon
After six years together, Joe Barnes and Canyon are parting ways. Joe has raced his entire EWS career for the German brand and delivered a flurry of top tens and two podiums, including on one home soil in Glentress. There's no word on where Joe heading to next but fellow Dude of Hazzard Liam Moynihan could offer a clue as he's been showing off his new Scott.
Merry Christmas and a huge thank you to Canyon for the past six years. It has been a thrill to ride for such a passionate company and travel the world with friends. So many good memories and opportunities from the beginning of the EWS until now.
Reece Wilson leaves Commencal 100%
A last minute deal saw Reece Wilson grab a place for a year at Commencal last year and he duly delivered under pressure. Following his breakout podium at Fort William this year, he was always going to be hot property this off-season and he's on the move again already. We've speculated he's going back to the Trek bikes he was racing on with Unior but on a new factory set up. We'll let you know the official news when it drops.
2018 is done... I want to say a massive thanks to Pierre Charles George for believing in me 12 months ago and giving me the opportunity to ride on Commencal 100% . So many great memories and a few lifelong friends were made, My first Elite podium and so many other great results! Thanks to everyone who helped put it all together. You guys rock!
Matt Walker leaves Cube
After three years on the German brand, Matt Walker is heading for a new team in 2019. He has enjoyed success on home soil for Cube with wins in the Giant Toa enduro and Air DH at Crankworx Rotorua but his best result will probably go down as the second place finish he picked up at the opening round of the EWS in 2017. As far as World Cups go, his strongest result came in his last race for the brand in La Bresse, where he finished 13th.
It’s been a wild ride and I can’t thank the team, supporters and the Cube and Bliss family enough for the opportunities and all they have done, Cheers for the memories, the mates, the banter and the support! It’s been rad! 2019 brings something new for me and I can’t wait for the good times ahead.
Phil Atwill off Propain
After a couple of breakout seasons on Propain, Phil Atwill is looking off to a new team. Phil grabbed his first ever World Cup podium for the brand in 2017 but struggled while recovering from a serious ACL surgery last year. He announced his departure from Propain with an edit on the same tracks he rode for Gamble in Greece, which is well worth a watch if you haven't seen it yet. For completion's sake, it's also worth noting the Dirt team have now become Propain Factory Racing.
Been a crazy three years with Propain and five years with the Dirt team! Been through everything with these guys from my first podium to wrecked knees you name it. Memories have been made that will never be forgotten not to mention some of the footage Tom Caldwell must have on his hard drive that will probably never see the light of day. But all good things have to come to an end!
Florent Payet and Marine Cabirou off VVR
Florent Payet has posted he will not be racing on Mondraker bikes this year. We initially thought VVR might be changing bike sponsor but we've since had confirmation that VVR will be staying with Mondraker, meaning Florent is off to a new team. Marine Cabirou has also announced she'll be leaving the team after becoming a regular face on the women's podium in 2018.
Time for change, many thanks Mondraker Bikes for those amazing three years.—Florent Payet
After many years on board with the VVracing it’s time for me to live new adventures! Big thanks to all these guys for the amazing support during all these years!!! Also for the very good times we are shared together! A new chapter is coming, stay tuned!—Marine Cabirou
Kenta Gallagher off Polygon UR
After successfully making the switch from XC to DH, Kenta Gallagher has been racing for the Polygon UR team. It didn't quite click for Kenta this time but it seems he's got some plans up his sleeve for next year, check out his latest Instagram post for a clue as to what that might be.
Thanks to the Polygon UR team for the past two years, it was a great time but unfortunately it’s come to an end, I didn’t manage to achieve the things I set out to do but I’m going to recoup freshen up and crack on once again.