Why young Trek athletes broke out in Nové Město

Nové Město showcased why Trek's rider development efforts are the best in the world

Trek athletes won five of six Under-23 and Junior events at the MTB Cross Country World Cup race in Nové Město this past weekend. Of the 18 available podium spots, eight were occupied by a young member of a conglomeration of Trek Factory Racing-Pirelli XC, Trek Future Racing, Lidl-Trek and Bear National Team riders.

Riley Amos and Isabella Holmgren are perfect on the World Cup circuit this season — Amos now having won six-of-six World Cup starts, and Holmgren now two-for-two after swapping her Madone for a Supercaliber in the midst of her first year racing for Lidl-Trek. Amos’ TFR XC teammate Madigan Munro had one of her best weekends ever, taking third in short track and second in Olympic-distance. 17-year-old Albert Philipsen, a junior road and XCO World Champion, will join Lidl-Trek in 2025, but in the meantime he’s racing Trek mountain bikes, winning the junior men’s race in Nové Město.

Riley Amos celebrating his sixth World Cup win of the season.

Madigan Munro en route to one of her best World Cup weekends ever.

That’s not even mentioning the contributions of Trek’s dedicated MTB development teams. Trek Future Racing’s Bjorn Riley took third in U23 men’s XCO and sixth in XCC, while Emilly Johnston took fourth in U23 women’s XCO and fifth in XCC. The Bear National Team sent 18-year-old American rider Vida Lopez de San Roman to Nové Město, and she took fourth while also jumping up to third overall on the UCI’s junior women’s XC rankings. Bear also boasts No. 6 Andie Aagard, and No. 1 overall junior men’s rider Nicholas Konecny.

That level of success doesn’t occur in a vacuum. In one weekend on one of XC racing’s most iconic courses, Trek’s young riders reinforced the pillars of Trek’s development philosophy.

A podium cheers between Trek teammates Isabella Holmgren and Madigan Munro.

Albert Philipsen showing off his versatility with an impressive junior win.

Step 1 is giving riders the best equipment and support. Trek is a bike company after all, and the opportunity to ride the fastest equipment in the world can be a major draw for young talent. Multidisciplinary riders like Holmgren and Philipsen can swap bikes from one weekend to the next and know they’ll be riding best-in-class products. If it’s good enough for Olympic and World Champions, it’s good enough for them.

They also know that they’ll be well taken care of. Trek wholly owns its Trek Factory Racing and Lidl-Trek racing operations, which means that all the squads share core philosophies and wide open lines of communication. The staff also understands all levels of the sport. For example, TFR XC’s team support manager Matt Shriver is Lidl-Trek’s former technical director, and a former cyclocross world champion as a racer. He understands the needs and technical challenges of a wide range of athletes.

Bjorn Riley has been one of the top U23 men's riders all season alongside Riley Amos.

Emilly Johnston getting ready to do battle for Trek Future Racing.

Philipsen cited the ability to maintain his multidisciplinary focus as a big reason why he signed with Trek last December

“I could really feel from the start how enthusiastic and passionate the people working in the team were, while still focused on not rushing the process and not putting too much pressure on my shoulders,” Philipsen said. “With my multi-discipline approach it was also important for me to find a team that not only had the best setup on the road, but also on the MTB and cyclocross, and I really feel that Lidl-Trek does that.”

Holmgren and Philipsen signed with Trek after establishing themselves as some of the best young riders in the world — in 2023, they combined to win four junior UCI world titles. Most young riders come to Trek’s factory and development teams well before they’ve hit their big breaks, however. Before Evie Richards won an elite XC world championship with TFR XC in 2021, she raced on a Trek for Tracy Moseley’s T-Mo Racing. Before Reece Wilson won an elite Downhill world championship in 2020, he was a member of the Trek-sponsored Unior Tools team of young riders (now called Unior-Sinter.)

Isabella Holmgren is one of several budding stars in Lidl-Trek's youth movement.

Riley Amos has been leading the way all season.

Trek oversees a host of other teams dedicated to identifying and nurturing young talent: Bear National Team and Trek Future Racing in XC, CXHairs Devo and the Sven Nys Academy in cyclocross, Unior-Sinter and The Union in downhill, and a newly-minted devo squad for Lidl-Trek in road racing. The common element among all of them is that they scout for riders who demonstrate that they can be great teammates, foremost. Pure physical ability isn’t everything.

Bear National Team is one of the longest standing development programs in the United States, and it has helped usher in a wave of World Cup success among American riders. Amos is one of the squad’s alumni who applied for the program, did community service, bought into Bear’s “get what you give” ethos, and has gone on to become a budding star with TFR XC.

The bike of champions.

Isabella Holmgren on the move.

“I’ve never podium-picked. I never go out and recruit kids,” Julia Violich, Bear’s co-founder, told Trek. “[With the applications] I really want to get into the psyche of that child. Are they kind? Are they grateful? Are they going to be a good teammate?”

Bear has been partnered with Trek for more than a decade now. The program aligns with Trek’s values, and vice versa.

“It’s not the monetary thing that Trek does for us. It’s the brand that Trek brings,” Violich said. “They are the program that supports my kids at the high school level. They support kids at Trek Future Racing, the higher development level, then at the Factory Racing level. But they also care about things like safe routes to schools, and getting little kids on bikes. It’s pretty mind blowing.”

Hugs for Madigan Munro's killer double-podium weekend.

Evidence of a hard-fought race.

Holistic physical and personal development is also a cornerstone of Trek Future Racing. The team uses advanced biometrics to help tailor training plans so that its athletes can reach their full athletic potential, but it also uses that data to monitor recovery and ward off over-training, too. Another part of that emphasis is keeping young athletes from mentally burning out.

“The main thing we learned is we have to show them not to overdo it,” Bernd Reutemann, Trek Future Racing’s owner and team manager, told Trek. “And it’s very hard because in the World Cup, 60 riders want to be on the podium. We will not always be on the podium, but you can do your best and we can always be a positive presence in the market. For the kids, they love cycling. That’s the story.”

Not every weekend will be a smash success, but Nové Město was proof positive that Trek’s approach to rider development is working. The future of Trek’s race teams is bright. The not-so-secret formula is simple: Equip passionate young riders with the very best tools, then watch them fly.