Topeak-Ergon Racing Team
The unique thing about the Topeak Ergon Racing Team, quite aside from the multitude of victories and the success that we have had, is the mix of riders from different backgrounds. It is a team which focuses on performance, but is also one which is extremely international, with strong individuals. It is a recipe which has made Team Topeak Ergon, since its inception in 2005, one of the most successful teams in the World. Wins include multiple cross country and marathon World Champion’s titles, European Marathon Champion, German, Austrian, Russian and British national championships – this list barely does justice to what the riders have achieved
The team’s success is clearly a result of the strength of the riders, both mentally and physically. It is a result of a passion for mountain biking, coming from everyone involved – from the riders, to the sponsors, to the team management. It is also a result of the reliability of the equipment used, and of Ergon products which they thoroughly test.
Prototypes are used in race environments, and every parameter measured, to see if they have broken, or bent and what improvements can be made. Ease of use, and ergonomics are also a key criterion upon which feedback is demanded. This then flows back into the development of the products. Components are designed with the individual wishes and requests of these riders in mind – after all, they improve performance and optimize their bikes for competition – where any gain, no matter how marginal it may seem, it important. This close partnership is one of the foundations of the success for both sides of the equation.
(It doesn’t stop there. As well as our own race team, Ergon is involved in athlete sponsorship Worldwide, from the USA to Japan, from the UK to Brazil. Our products are used by the most demanding athletes to help them win races.)
“You can’t be afraid when racing. You have to just let go, and simply give everything that you have”
It is a philosophy, which has allowed Irina Kalentieva to perform at the very top of her sport for many years. World Championships and World Cup victories – she is one of the fastest women in the world. Her openness and friendliness makes her someone who is loved in the scene and by those who meet her. On the bike though, her good nature is mastered, and there is little mercy shown to the competition. “It’s going to be difficult. It is going to be hard” I have never said that, because you have to believe and remain positive. If you do, in my experience there is a chance of finishing top three.” It is this sort of determination that sets the Russian, who now lives in Germany, apart.
Two World Champions’ titles, and countless wins show that she lives up to the demands she places on herself. Mountain biking is her passion – and it is something, which she wishes to show once again at the London Olympics later this year.
“Whether it is the bike, my training or diet, I try to always be on the limit of what is possible to get the most out of my body.”
The Austrian isn’t called The Albanator for nothing. He is as hard on his competition as he is on himself. Discipline and ambition are things which he has in equal measure making him an exceptional athlete. His love for mountain biking was something he discovered on holiday at Lake Garda in Italy. World Champion, and five times Austrian national champion are just a few of his achievements. Endurance is his strength and on long courses, where others are really suffering is when the fun is just beginning for him. “My mission is to demand the most from myself and the bike from the very start. If you don’t do that, you are in the wrong sport”. His motivation is his family, with three children providing him with the reason to train, the power to win, and the distraction when it is all over.
"If you finish a race, and physically could continue riding, you've done something wrong"
The many time German National Champion in XCO doesn't only give his all while racing, but also is just as exact when it comes to his bike. The quest for a perfect harmony between man and machine. In order to get the most out of himself and also out of the bike, it takes not just masses of training, but also the perfect machine. "It is my aim to take everything to the limit. If you aren't giving your all, then you are in the wrong sport" the father of three said. His reason for doing it - his family - they provide him with the power to ride as he does.
“Mountain Biking is for me the absolute limit of performance”
A rider singled out as being one of Germany’s upcoming stars, Robert Mennen has shown that he has what it takes, and deserves to be part of the German Mountain Bike Elite. With a firm place in Team Topeak Ergon, he really is in the overtaking lane. Dynamic and strong willed, yet a willingness to learn - his qualities are the foundations for his success. The passion for mountain biking comes from the mixture of being in nature, the freedom which it brings, and the chance to test his body. It is from this that he draws his motivation to ride at the limit at every race.
“I can’t imagine a life without my bikes”
When Britain’s Sally Bigham joined Team Topeak Ergon in 2009, she was already one of the most successful female riders from the island. In the meantime she has managed to become one of the best in the World, and often wins against the International Elite. This is illustrated with her second win at the 2012 Cape Epic in South Africa. One of the hardest races that there is. For Sally fun and love of the sport come first. “By training hard and having the tenacity to carry on, the wins seem to come along on their own” the Marathon Specialist says. The list of wins underlines this. Despite her success, it is only since 2006 that Sally has been riding bikes. Her remarkable talent saw her become British Champion within two years, and so she remains at the head of the field.
“Every minute on a bike is a good minute”
Dave Wiens, the “Rockhound” is an exceptional athlete. A professional mountain biker for over 20 years, he has managed teams and is a fixture in the scene. With two US National Championships to his name, and a number of World Cup wins, in 2002 he was welcomed into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.
His talent on the bike is still strong, and his six wins in a row of the legendary Leadville 100 race in Colorado attest to it. Not only that, but both Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis are amongst the riders which he has beaten. “I never did any of this to be seen as a hero or a legend, and find it quite strange. I am just a guy who likes to ride his bike, and likes to give my all when doing it.”