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In a recent press release from the UCI, they announced the 14 gravity teams that will have the 'Elite' designation for the 2012 World Cup Series.

"Elite teams will benefit from numerous advantages: notably free entry at UCI Mountain Bike World Cup events and free entry for all races on the UCI Mountain Bike International Calendar. Invitations to join the Elite teams were issued to the top teams of a UCI ranking established on September 26th, 2011 by adding up the UCI points of the best riders within each team."

The 2012 Elite Gravity Teams are as follows. Note that they are ordered according to their 2011 rankings.

1. Trek World Racing (ESP)  
2. Scott 11 (SUI)    
3. Santa Cruz Syndicate (USA)    
4. GT Bicycles (GBR)    
5. Giant Factory Off-road Team (USA)    
6. MS Mondraker Racing (AUT)    
7. Riding Addiction Commençal (FRA)    
8. Monster Energy / Specialized Factory Racing (USA)    
9. Lapierre International (FRA)    
10. Chain Reaction / Nukeproof (GBR)    
11. Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team (USA)    
12. Ghost Factory Racing Team (GER)    
13. Alpine Commençal Austria (AUT)    
14. Hutchinson United Ride (FRA)   

There are a number of particularly interesting things that we can deduce from the the list of Elite teams:
  • This is a big one - check out the name on the 4th 2012 Elite team. Who was ranked 4th in 2011? You guessed it, the Commencal / Atherton Racing Team.  They are now listed as GT Bicycles.
  • MS Evil becomes MS Mondraker, indicating that they'll be on Mondraker bikes next season.
  • Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz becomes Monster Energy / Specialized Factory Racing.
  • Morewood United Ride becomes Hutchinson United Ride.
  • Several teams either declined the offer to be an Elite team for 2012, or are no longer in existence (as is the case with Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain). This is why the 20th ranked 2011 Morewood Unitedride team is the 14th 2012 Elite team. We can assume that the offer was not extended to 4X exclusive teams, including RSP and Milka Trek, since there will no longer be 4X events at the 2012 World Cups. Team GR, the Mondraker Factory Team, and Team Morzine are not on the 2012 list.

For reference, here are the Top 20 teams from 2011:


It seems that Team Rumours was right again...
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