Okay, so we’ve been a bit slack getting this news up, but if you haven’t heard, New Zealand’s Junior XC World Champion Anton Cooper has signed to race on the Cannondale team for 2013, after the demise of his former team Trek World Racing’s XC program.

Not only will Anton be on a new bike, he will be switching to new drivetrain (SRAM), suspension (Lefty up Front, RockShox out back), Avid brakes and ENVE wheels. So it’ll be a season of firsts for Anton, and hopefully most of them on the track.

Here’s what Anton had to say on his website and the official press Release from Cannondale:

Bethel, CT— December 13, 2012 – Cannondale, a Dorel Industries premium brand, announced today the members of the 2013 Cannondale Factory Racing Team. The team will consist of riders Marco Aurelio Fontana, Manuel Fumic, Keegan Swenson, and Anton Cooper, creating a talented roster of both new and experienced riders on the XC World Cup circuit.

“Over the past four years, Cannondale Factory Racing riders have seen great success, including Marco Aurelio Fontana’s Olympic bronze medal, world championship titles, and numerous World Cup podiums,” said Bob Burbank, Global General Manager, Cannondale. “With the signing of Anton, and Keegan’s increased focus on the XC World Cup circuit, we are setting the direction forthe future of the team while maintaining the approachable personalities and inspiring passion for XC that the team has been know for.”

Anton Cooper is the sole addition to the Cannondale Factory Racing team. As the 2012 Junior World Champion, 2012 Junior World Cup Overall Winner, and New Zealand Junior National Champion, Cooper is one of the biggest up-and-coming talents on a mountain bike. He’ll be joining the team of Swenson, Fumic, and Fontana. Fontana is the Italian Champion in both cyclocross and cross-country and was awarded a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.

With this fleet of riders, the team will take on a new dynamic: two elite riders and two U23 riders. The 2013 program will capitalize on the unique dynamic of the team, a combination of experienced riders with new up-and-comers. Additionally, the team will see new partners in 2013, including SRAM, Avid, Rock Shox, Schwalbe, Prologo, FSA, Enve, and NorthWave.

Cannondale Factory Racing will be riding the Cannondale Scalpel 29’er and the F29. With 100mm front and rear travel, the Cannondale Scalpel 29’er possesses Cannondale’s unique Lefty fork, along with unstoppable 29’er momentum with the quickness and agility of a 26” bike. Also featuring the Lefty, the hardtail F29 has an ultra-light, ultra-stiff frame and 29’er Race Geometry for relentless momentum with the weight and agility benefits of a 26” bike.

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