Kate Courtney is taking her sports career into her own hands. The newly crowned mountain bike world champion made the surprise decision to leave her long-time sponsor Specialized and branch out into a new and potentially game-changing environment at Scott-SRAM. She signed a two-year deal with the Swiss-based programme that will see her racing under the guidance of Thomas Frischknecht, and alongside seven-time world champion Nino Schurter, as she aims to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“It was a multi-factorial decision, and a lot went into the decision, for me, personally,” Courtney told Cyclingnews in an interview over the phone on Sunday.
“At this time, the Scott programme is a good fit for me, and I’m excited about the opportunity to work with Thomas Frischknecht and the legendary Nino. I think they have a lot of experience that will be valuable to me in my Olympic pursuits and my big goals coming up in the next few years. They also have a great team environment and share a genuine love for the bike, which is a huge part of why I also love the sport.”
Courtney, 23, competed in her first season in the elite category during 2018. She won the Cape Epic with teammate Annika Langvad in March and the US national championship title in July. She went on to surprise the cycling community with a victory at the World Championships in the elite women’s cross-country race held in Lenzerheide, Switzerland in September.
She has spent the majority of her cycling career with Specialized, starting under their athlete development programme and then transitioning to the racing team in the under-23 and elite categories. In total, she spent eight years under Specialized.
“I have been supported by Specialized since the start of my career. I started on their equipment as part of the Whole Athlete Development Team in my first year racing,” Courtney said. “I was on that team for four years before signing with the Specialized Factory Program in my first year as an under-23 five years ago. It’s been an incredible level of support, and I’m grateful they gave me that opportunity.”
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com