The Specialized Factory Racing XC team is expanding for the 2023 season with the entry onto the roster of the young racers Martin Vidaurre and Victor Koretzky. The Chilean Vidaurre will race in the Under 23 category in which he holds the world title. Koretzky will join the team starting from the next training camp in Spain.
[Press Release] – Specialized Factory Racing, the top-ranked XCO MTB team of 2022, have signed arguably one of the most talented young riders in Martin Vidaurre and completes the 2023 roster with the addition of Victor Koretzky.
The 22-year-old Vidaurre and former U/23 World Champion from Chile joined the team in California at Specialized Bicycles HQ for an introduction to the new equipment, engineers and product managers while testing gear for the 2023 season.
“I am happy and very excited to join the Specialized Factory Racing Team. So many factors influenced my decision, but Specialized is a racing company, one of the best out there, and I am sure I made the best decision for me. The bikes have a good history, and the team knows how to win. On the other side is Specialized’s big community in Sudamerica. For sure is not going to be easy; there is a lot to learn, but I will keep my style and try something crazy. I have no significant pressure, so it’s time to take opportunities and get more experience. My goal will be consistent the whole season.” – Martin Vidaurre.
Team manager Benno Willeit is enthusiastic about having the new riders join the team and believes this is the most robust XCO roster in his 17 years at Specialized.
“Personally, I’m super excited about the two new riders we managed to sign for the next few years……Martin made his first impression back in 2020 at WC in Leogang….. he was the most outstanding rider of the weekend as he enjoyed the crazy wet and muddy conditions….. and managed to entertain the crowd without even winning the race. From there onwards, we followed his development and gave all we had to convince him to join our team in 2023. With Victor, we exchanged some messages during the season as he is also a very talented and exciting rider with the right mindset and shares the team spirit. Still, with his ongoing contract till the end of 2023 with B&B Hotels, we were just on standby and willing to race in 2023 with “only “ 5 riders on the team. Once the rumour of the default of the B&B team started and Victor was legally allowed to have conversations with other teams again, we continued our discussions, and together with Bora Hansgrohe, we could offer him the ideal environment to fulfil his desire to become a champ on MTB, and road hopefully. This is the most exciting and hopefully the strongest XCO team I have worked with since I’m with Specialized!” – Benno Willeit.
Viktor Koretzky joined the team at a very late stage after the collapse of his road racing team, but the French rider is motivated and has big goals for the new year. Unfortunately, Victor could not join the team in California but joined the Bora Hansgrohe team in Spain on their camp.
“I am excited to join the Specialized Factory Team for 2023 and beyond. The decision was made very late after my last team could not fulfil commitments, but I am happy to have signed with a team where I can chase my dreams. I will be riding for Bora Hansgrohe on the road, and we will target some one-day races. I aim to be in good form early in the season and perform well at these road races before turning my attention to the MTB. The world championships in Scotland will be significant to qualify for the 2024 games, and I will give everything to achieve this goal. Unfortunately, I have not been able to join the team at the recent camp, but I know all the riders, and I am excited to join them in person very soon”
– Victor Koretzky.
With two new male riders on the team, Christopher Blevins becomes the most experienced Specialized rider, and he is excited to have two strong riders alongside him.
“The team dynamic is excellent this year. We got off to a good start in Santa Cruz with some surfing, bowling, and shredding trails. We’re all going to push each other to get better and have fun. I’m excited to have Martin and Victor onboard this year. Two super strong riders with some style that adds a lot to XC, and we’re on track to be rocking yellow leaders’ plates at the World Cups. We’re going to have a lot of fun together on the bike and off” – Christopher Blevins.
While the team experienced mixed fortunes during the 2022 season, performance director A/Prof Michael Posthumus is excited about the new season.
“2022 was a year of challenges and misfortune, but we still managed some excellent results. We all had big goals coming into 2022 but soon realised that Rome wasn’t built in a day. However, there were so many positives towards the end of the season, which left me very excited for 2023. I want all riders to keep progressing and staying healthy for the new season. Ensuring year-on-year growth and improving consistency is the ultimate goal. We can add a new dimension to the 2023 XCO season with the current roster. Building on the lessons learnt in 2022, and I am confident we have the riders and experience to dominate as a team. Each of our riders has the potential to be on the top step. I am excited to see the team come together and charge for podiums in 2023” – Michael Posthumus.
The Specialized Factory Racing team continues with a 50% ratio of men and women on the team, and there are no changes on the female roster moving forward. Haley Batten, Sina Frei and Laura Stigger have formed a close relationship, and all three praise one another.
“The relationship with my two team buddies, Haley and Laura, is excellent. We can push each other on and off the bike, which makes it great fun. I can learn a lot, and it‘s nice to have these two women beside me, creating an amazing team vibe! I think we are 2023 the strongest Team in the whole MTB Circuit. I feel good with the two new Team members, and I feel it‘s going to be an epic year ahead of us! Martin and Victor fit perfectly into our Team!” – Sina Frei.
“After one year with Specialized Factory Racing, I feel that our environment continues to improve. I am grateful to have the support of amazing people that are dedicated, hard-working, and having fun along the way. We have shared many special moments, and I know that there are more to come! Sina, Laura, and I have built great relationships, and I think the three of us can accomplish much together on the world stage. I am also excited to welcome new riders to the team! Our team is set up for a great year of racing, especially with the new Specialized equipment that the engineers and people behind the scenes have worked so hard to design for world cup speed. It’s go time!” – Haley Batten.
“It’s so cool to be part of this strong ladies’ group on Specialized! It’s fun, we can learn a lot from each other, and we can achieve a lot together😍 But, in general, we have a powerful team of men and women! I am excited about what season 2023 will bring!” – Laura Stigger.
The Specialized Factory Racing team remains focused on the UCI MTB World Cup season, Sea Otter Classic, Cape Epic, Specialized market activations, and National Championships.
The team is proud to be supported by SRAM, Rockshox, Wahoo, Maurten, HT Components, Retül, Roval, Motorex, Evoc, and Supacaz.