Downhill racer moves on up to world stage

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Top Scottish downhiller, Joe Connell, has had a fantastic 2010 season rewarded by a new two-year contract with the Sunn Montgenerve World Cup Team.

Based in France, and under the guidance of top French national coach Stephane Girard, the team will take Joe across Europe to take part in World Cups in Scotland, Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland in 2011.

This will be on top of his normal races within the Scottish Series and British Downhill Series.

The World Cups will be a whole different level of competition for the 16-year-old Strathkinness rider as he enters into the Junior Category.

When Joe is not competing he will be based at Montgenerve in Southern France for training and riding with his two new team mates, top Elite rider Sam Dale and World Cup rider Julien Camellini.

The team presentation will also take place in Montgenerve in January where the riders will receive their Sunn Radical Bikes and POC kit.

Speaking at his home, on a short return from his Downhill Course at Borders College, Joe told the Citizen: “This is everything I have dreamed of and worked hard towards.

‘‘It is amazing to think that I am now on a World Cup Team in only my third year of racing competitively.

CAREER

‘‘I have benefited from the help of so many people over those three years – John and James at Fife Cycles, Matt Morris at Alpinebikes in Innerliethen, Aaron Hay at FoxEurope, Debbie Seargent, Maggie Hendry and all the support staff at the Scottish Sport Institute and Chris Ball and Gary Willis at Scottish Cycling.

“With all their help and the fantastic support of my family I have managed to get myself on the first rung of what I hope will be a successful and rewarding career in downhill riding with great team mates and travelling around the world doing what I love the most”

Joe has also just joined the Scottish Cycling Downhill Academy Team where he is working with Napier University and national coach, Chris Ball, to maximise his true potential over the winter through personalised training, strength and conditioning programmes.

Joe added, “I’ve worked really hard over the last three years to get to where I am in my sport, always trying to be the best I can be.

‘‘Everything is happening at the right time for me just now and I want to take all this great energy and move forward into the 2011 season – what I am looking forward to most is riding in front of a home crowd at the World Cup in Fort William on June 4 and 5.

‘‘I hope as many people from Fife can make it there to cheer me and the other top Scottish riders on.”