As 2018 comes to a close, we’re looking back on a year filled with incredible moments from our family of professional teams and athletes. For us, #racingmatters. The dedication these athletes put towards their competitive goals not only inspires us to ride, train, and push ourselves further than we would otherwise, it is also a vital component into how we create the best cycling experience possible in each and every one of our bikes. Ours is an iterative design process, one that relies on the feedback of the world’s fittest, fastest, and most experienced riders to help us push the boundaries of performance so that every Felt rider around the world can achieve his or her own success on the bike. Whether that’s setting a new personal best time on your favorite climb, taking a podium place at your local criterium, or even achieving a healthier lifestyle thanks to your newfound fondness for pedaling, this look back at 2018 is to celebrate your accomplishments in tandem with those of our pro athletes. Cheers to them, chapeau to you, and here’s to a fun, safe, and successful 2019 ahead.
Triathlon’s most popular superstar Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae took a break from competition in 2017 to welcome the arrival of her baby girl Isabelle. She returned to competition in 2018 in full force. In July, Rinny found herself atop the podium at Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa, and in September, she won the Ironman 70.3 event in Augusta, Georgia. She also scored a top-five finish at the Kona World Championship, a race she’s won three times in her career, and on which she’ll again have her sights firmly set in 2019.
The TWENTY20 Pro Cycling team is one of the most accomplished in the pro peloton. Its mission has long been to nurture young female riders into world-class cyclists, with a focus on preparing them for the Olympic Games. Along the way, the team has racked up countless wins throughout the years, and 2018 was no exception. Allie Dragoo took a monumental overall victory at the Chico Stage race, while Jasmin Duehring won the overall at the San Dimas Stage Race. The team also took stage victories at the Tour of the Gila and the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
After shocking the triathlon world in 2017 by leading the men’s field out of the swim at the Kona World Championship, young Australian Josh Amberger returned to the Big Island in 2018 a year older, a year wiser, and insanely motivated to put in a solid performance. He was again first out of the water after the swim portion, having led the entire field through the entire leg. After jumping aboard his new IA Disc race bike, Amberger put himself into a fast group of some of the sport’s best cyclists and proceeded to put in his best bike split yet. A previous knee injury returned during the run, taking him out of competition. But Josh’s tenacity showed the world yet again that he’s a star in the making, and you better bet your bottom dollar that he’ll be at the front of the race again in 2019. Click here to watch Josh recap his 2018 Kona race.
Felt has long supported the USA Cycling track program, and it’s been an incredible experience witnessing the development of so many incredible athletes, particularly among the women’s squad. In 2017, the American women rode to a gold medal at the World Championships aboard the revolutionary TA FRD track bike. In 2018, the sought a repeat, and did so in dramatic fashion against the powerhouse British squad, coming from behind in the final few laps.
After shocking the world last year with an incredible maiden championship at the Leadville MTB 100 race in 2017, Larissa Connors returned to the famed Colorado race to defend her crown. With a target firmly on her back, Larissa rose to the occasion and rode away from the field, finishing an astonishing 27 minutes ahead of her nearest rival. Larissa opted to ride her trusty Edict mountain bike, which her husband and Felt engineer, Brendan Connors, designed. They’re definitely the new power couple in endurance mountain bike racing.
In November, Ashleigh Gentle claimed victory at the Noosa Triathlon Festival in Australia, bringing her career total to six Noosa titles. No other female athlete has won as many as Gentle. Billed as Australia’s highest profile triathlon event, it’s widely regarded across the world as one of the most prestigious races in the sport, and it is therefore an absolutely stunning achievement by Gentle for showing such dominance over the past few seasons.
At the Pan American Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, American Ashton Lambie set a new world record in the Individual Pursuit. Wait, no, that's not entirely correct. Lambie obliterated the previous record of 4:10.534 set by Australian Jack Bobridge back in 2011 by posting a time of 4:07.251. That's over 3 seconds faster, and a veritable eternity when it comes to track racing. A Kansas native who got his cycling start in gravel racing, Lambie is one of the brightest stars amidst a young and exciting contingent of American track racers with big ambitions heading into 2019.
It’s one thing to win a world championship in any sport. To win one again is incredible. To do it three times is something truly astonishing. Back in February, the Belgian star Wout Van Aert did just that. Having won his second rainbow jersey the previous season aboard the Felt Fx cyclocross platform, Wout knew that he had the capabilities to go for a hat trick of world titles. He attacked his rivals on the second lap of the race, and never looked back.
In September, Daniela Ryf went to South Africa with nothing to prove. She had already won the Ironman 70.3 World Championship three times and, thanks to her (at the time) three Kona World Championships, had already cemented her legacy as one of the sport’s all-time greats. But true to form, the Swiss superstar obliterated her field of rivals, completing the swim in a time of 24:24, followed by a 2:15:27 bike split (the fastest throughout the whole event), and finished with a 1:16:59 run. All told, she took the win in a total time of 4:01:12. No triathlete, male or female, has won as many 70.3 world titles.
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