When you think of marathon and stage race super power you typically think of two teams: Topeak Ergon and Team Bulls, and of course more recently Centurion Vaude. In 2018, Canyon are expanding on their commitment to the world of marathon and stage racing creating Canyon Topeak Factory Racing. The Marathon specialists will be headed up by reigning World Champion, Alban Lakata of Austria, the Czech Republic’s Kristian Hynek, American Jeremiah Bishop and South Africa native, Erik Kleinhans.
Canyon Topeak Factory Racing (CTFR) takes over from the highly successful pro arm of the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team, whose U.S. contingent will continue to compete throughout North America. Erik Kleinhans will put his many years’ experience on the scene to good use in a new double role as both rider and CTFR Team Manager.
Looking at almost any aspect of cycling you can see that Canyon are involved not just for branding, but out of passion. Canyon Founder & CEO, Roman Arnold, staes: “Our history at Canyon is strongly rooted in racing. Personally, I’m very excited that Canyon Topeak Factory Racing will now join our enduro, downhill and freeride teams under one roof. Working with these athletes is about so much more than showcasing our products – the dialogue that exists between Canyon engineers and pro riders flows into every new development to make our bikes the best they can be for riders everywhere. That’s where the Pure Cycling flair that sets Canyon apart comes from.”
Alban Lakata has an intense focus on the coming Cape Epic, having placed just about every position save for 1st. But with the XCM World Championships returning to the Dolomites in September (not far from where he won the title in 2015) 2018 could be a super wear for the Albanator.
Kristian Hynek really burst onto the scene in 2012 with a commanding performance at the Alpen Tour Trophy. Since then he has been on or very close to countless podiums at major stage races and marathons, with plenty of race wins along the way.
Jeremish Bishop essentially proved too strong to stay in the USA, and has become a valuable addition to the global squad, especially at major races where two teams are fielded, like the Cape Epic.
Erik Kleinhans is often paired with Bishop, but the four riders all race well together and this is perhaps one of the most potent things for this 4-person team. They will race for a common goal which might be to put Alban into position to win, but really they have the talent to have any rider step up to take the lead.
What lies ahead for Canyon Topeak Factory Racing
We’re on the cusp of some of the biggest races of the year as the season is well underway in South Africa, where Canyon has just become available. Sitting high of the team’s hit list in 2018 will be a top placing at the Absa Cape Epic alongside the defence of Alban Lakata’s Rainbow Jersey at the XCM World Championships. Riders will have a choice between the superlight Exceed CF SLX hardtail and Lux CF full suspension models to race on depending on the terrain.
The Canyon Topeak Factory Team has now moved to a Shimano XTR mechanical drivetrain with a 1×11 setup using the XT 11-46 cassette, with Fox suspension. Their Exceed CF above is show with DT Swiss wheels, and it will be interesting to see if they have XRC 1200 wheels on race day.