Is this the beginning of the end for Pro downhilling? Specialized
has announced that it is to discontinue its professional World Cup downhill mountain
bike racing team for the 2001 season. The Specialized team launched many stars into
the world of downhilling, including Jason McRoy, Shaun Palmer and Wayne Croasdale.
The compay will be instead focussing its sponsorship dollars on grassroots programs
and equipment sponsorship.
Bicycle Retailer & Industry News reports that the team will continue its full
World Cup schedule through the end of the racing season in December. Specialized
will continue its World Cup cross country racing team.
Teams have been slimming down every year for the past few seasons, but this is the
first time a major manufacturer have pulled a team. We’d also recommend Specialized
spent a bit more money on R&D, then they wouldn’t have to try and sell bikes
with 11in bottom bracket heights to people in this country.
Anyone who thinks that downhillers are worth the huge mega-salaries they are paid
might be wise to look to the UK domestic road scene. Whilst I won’t disclose his
salary (but if you’re reading this on a PC connection at work, you’re getting paid
more) twice British National Road Race Champion John Tanner works three days a week
in a UK bike-company warehouse packing boxes.