Team Transfer News Round Up - Barnes, Wilson, Walker & more

Jan 3, 2019 at 3:51
by James Smurthwaite  
Florent Payet is always so close to the leaders and today found himself a few steps higher and on the podium.

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.

All the Scotsmen are looking quite quick in these slick conditions and Joe Barnes is certainly no exception.
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.

bigquotesMerry 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 hoisting the Saltire high in front of the home fans.
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.
bigquotes2018 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

Matt Walker and his Cube Two15

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.
bigquotesIt’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 has a plan to blow up everything until he gets his season back on track.
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.
bigquotesBeen 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!

Better believe Marine Cabirou came here to get a spot on the podium and sneak into the top5 overall.
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.
bigquotesTime for change, many thanks Mondraker Bikes for those amazing three years.Florent Payet
bigquotesAfter 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

Scotsman abroad Kenta Gallagher sends out of tunnel number 2.
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.
bigquotesThanks 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.


  • 158 2
 Good bye good byes, blah, blah, blah. I want the official introductions. Sure, its sad breaking up. But the best way to get over a lost relationship is to start riding a new one. Fresh meat. We want the who is hooking up with who news.
  • 35 0
 It almost sounds like you wanted them to hook up before the break up you dirty dawg...
  • 17 0
 I want to hear from somebody who's pissed..
  • 3 0
 Joe Barnes = Orange+loam+shitty weather
  • 10 1
 Really wondering what Phil Atwill's new team cube be....
  • 6 0
  • 8 12
flag Rubberelli (Jan 3, 2019 at 9:07) (Below Threshold)
 @scary1: I would guess it's the top riders most pissed. Those who made the brand or those top performers who were injured. Gwin made YT and now they won't cough up. Likewise, Filthy Phil made Propain and now they're not willing to pay. Athertons being let go from Trek when they probably demanded no additional $$$ because Gee was injured. Other riders who couldnt perform because of injury and were let go. Just look what Gee did after he recovered. These riders are getting injured for their sponsors, so the sponsors should stick by them the way Santa Cruz does for its riders.
  • 13 1
 @Rubberelli: I disagree. I had a YT before Gwin signed, so I made YT -along with the Zink brothers and Andreu Lacondeguy of course.
  • 5 0
 @Rubberelli: Gwin was probably expecting to not be with YT after his contract was up. Pretty sure he knew going in that it was a smaller brand (at the time) and YT was willing to pay him to put a face on their DH bike. He had some great races/wins on a Tues which is exactly what they wanted to promote bike sales/brand notoriety (even with big FR names like Zink and Lacondeguy the Tues wasn't race proven by an elite rider) . I don't think his leaving was anywhere near the level of 'drama' like it was from Trek and Specialized. I think many PB'ers see the 'were a family' teams and think that when a rider doesn't get a new contract they basically gave them the shaft, it's just business plain and simple.
  • 2 1
 @coyotecycleworks: Most of us knew that YT and Gwin wouldnt last forever. It was surprising he went there in the first place, at a time when the YT portfolio consisted of two bikes which were always out of stock. But still, two bikes.
  • 2 0
 YT wanted to explore their relationship with the Dark Lord more that Gwin was comfortable with. I have never had trouble getting a YT in the US. Just takes a little planning.
  • 3 0
 You can't get over your ex-girlfriend until you get under your new one.
  • 1 0
 @endlessblockades: Mats Haugen made YT, didn't he?
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Well YT is also known for a 'progressive' kinematic design....
  • 1 0
 @chyu: Don’t thing Orange would pay for him? Read a timer he’s likely to be going to Scott somewhere on the internet?
  • 50 2
 I am so glad I don't have to worry about making a living and feeding my family in the bike industry....
  • 24 0
 The wholesale death and destruction of "Dirt" as an entity (other than a facebook page) is almost complete.....
  • 7 0
 Sadly so
  • 14 0
 It's f*cking so sad too, there is talent to take it into this century out there surely, but even if it doesn't the name still means something to me and zillions of others who loved it's work over 20+ years. James Smurthwaite, he of this parish of course, is a great addition to PB from the Dirt stables but it still sucks.
  • 22 0
 @nickkk: Thanks for the kind words Nick, it definitely did suck. Tried our balls off to steer the ship around but unfortunately decisions made above our heads made it impossible in the end. I'd love someone who cares about it to buy the brand and kickstart it in print again... maybe when I win the lottery!
  • 2 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: no worries man! Curiously enough, I work in the print trade (though not publishing) so perhaps I may be the guy to pull the excalibur Dirt sword from E- bike Strava rock? Who's with me?!! yeah, maybe....maybe not.. Kidding aside, I too hope the brand remains in caring hands and comes back. I was aware of the publishing house issues above Dirt from the original print demise, a sad tale- its depressing to hear there was issues with even a 'leaner' digital model so to speak. Dirt's legacy and DNA of course is strong as f*ck in the work of @ShredderMTBZine and @sendermag so its not all bad- true works that fill that void for me at least.
  • 3 3
 Steve Jones is working on a e-bike YouTube channel...
  • 4 0
 @ReformedRoadie: *Room goes silent....
  • 1 2
 @Boardlife69: down voted for stating a fact...brilliant.
  • 4 0
 @ReformedRoadie: It was the fact being down voted, not you. Dont take it personal.
  • 11 0
 Kenta on Unno I think, in an all Scottish team..
  • 2 2
 Is Taylor Vernon Scottish or has he left Unno?
  • 1 0
 @fatduke: I think he is leaving. Williamson and Kenta left on the team. This is only from my lame Instagram snooping I should add...
  • 2 0
 @fatduke: also, I think Vernon is Welsh btw. If he is leaving making way for Kenta, then I hope he finds a great ride. He's a weapon. If he stays on Unno, then that's a pretty cool Brit team imo.
  • 11 2
 Ahhh, Unno bikes! Carbon fibre plunged from the depths of Loch Maree on a brisk winters day and moulded by the hands of Rabbie Burns himself.
  • 1 1
 @dubod22: yeah. Not so much. The riding talent I meant obviously. I know the bikes are Spanish.
  • 2 0
 @dubod22: lol tho
  • 2 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: Gutted when Dirt mag was dropped by the publisher.....I like something in paper when I read or I just don't digest it, screens go into standby too quickly so I end up reading really fast (sure I could alter the settings on my phone but I don't want to....I want a magazine again)

I now read 'Classic Bike' in my lunch break at work (magazine copy) and love it!

P.S If I win the lottery you have the option of a new job Wink
  • 2 0
 Barnes - Orange / Walker - Pivot / Wilson - Trek / Gallagher - Barracuda / Payet running or at least on the new Scott Team / Atwill - Could be anywhere.
  • 2 0
 I was in Rotorua three days ago and saw Matt Walker on a Pivot Firebird. Might just be a personal bike, or perhaps a sign of things to come!
  • 5 2
 I will miss Phil in ProPain. Smile
  • 3 0
 Does anyone know what's happening with Dirt?
  • 1 0
 Parent company went into administration and all assets were sold off to a company that has no interest in bikes...
  • 4 0
 what happened to Dirt ?
  • 4 0
 Broke. So Propain has to run the on their own now, but i'm sad Phil is no longer involved.
  • 2 0
 Phil On YT?? They’ll need a rider soon. Would love to see him on a big team. Buy faroneof my favorites!!
  • 1 0
 I have it on good authority that most of the big names have been poached by the new Calibre/Go Outdoors Team. New DH bike out soon too.
  • 2 3
 Jan.15, w019 will come and gone. I'm predicting less riders will race under UCI this year! There are way better avenues now with social media to maximize exposures to market other than racing!
  • 4 3
 Entertainers. . . No skill required!
  • 1 0
 @MX298: Um....Kirt Voreis
  • 1 0
 @H3RESQ: his RACE RESULTS were solid back in the day . . .. . .
  • 2 0
 Gwinner to Specialized, damn!
  • 2 1
 Good byes to a bunch of top 20 placings. Nothing will be miss here.
  • 10 10
 No news of Randy? What team for him in 2019?
  • 20 0
 Randy's on a Tranny
  • 4 0
 Actually, Randy is on a ‘team’ for next year, he’s with Transition bikes. There was a press release a week or so back. Pretty cool!
  • 5 1
 Downvote me for being out of the loop but I missed the origins of the whole Randy thing. Where did it come from? Can someone please fill me in (and be gentle, please)?
  • 6 1
 @Chadimac22: me too mate lol. I have a vague memory of reading a comment that referenced some guy's 'friend' called Randy who apparently was quite the weapon on two wheels.., which i *think* went on to become a PB meme all of its own. That original comment itself may of course have been a parody, so there is some ambiguity there. Some, or not all of that may be true but i think that's where it came from..
  • 4 0
 @nickkk: @Chadimac22 have a look at the post "Video: Marco Osborne Joins Transition Bicycles" on the home page(its one page down now), explains is all lovely..
  • 2 0
 @willaasss: Thanks bud! I'll check it out.
  • 2 0
 @Chadimac22: cheers, i hadn't imagined it then. Looks like Randy *is* quite the man on two wheels then.
  • 1 0
 This whole time i thought people were referring to Randy Spangler and Rampage fr some reason.. haha @Chadimac22:
  • 2 0
 @Chadimac22: Randy is the love child of Noah Colorado and Marco Osborne. He was born fully-formed on October 12, 2018 on a Jekyll 27.5, dropping directly onto an EWS course with a perfectly executed caveman. Some give him props, others not.
  • 1 0
 @nickkk: You summed it up nicely. Hit all the highlights.
  • 4 4
 Athertons on Cube... you may have heard it here first Wink
  • 1 0
 Or Rotwild. Gee recently posted a picture of an AMG testing facility, and Rotwild is associated with Mercedes-AMG.
  • 1 2
 Interesting that many german brands are releasing riders.
Cube, Canyon, Radon, YT - all focused on ebike development?
  • 1 2
 One-fingered peace sign.
  • 6 8
 Why ignore the XC news and team changes? Nothing of Annie Last and others going to Orbea for example...

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