In a pivotal move signalling a shift in the cyclocross landscape, Spanish champion Felipe Orts has announced his departure from the ProTeam Burgos BH, effective December 31, 2023. The 28-year-old athlete is set to pioneer his path with the creation of his own off-road cycling team, named FORTS Team, starting January 1, 2024. This development comes as a seismic change in Orts’ career, allowing him to marry his expertise in cyclocross with other cycling disciplines like mountain biking and gravel.
While specific details about sponsors and team members remain under wraps, the launch of FORTS Team is poised to redefine Orts’ career trajectory and offer fresh opportunities to explore multi-disciplinary cycling events. The Spanish Cyclocross Championship, the Benidorm World Cup, and the Cyclocross World Championship are slated as his marquee competitions in the new kit.
Orts’ decision to leave Burgos BH after three years was met with gratitude and mutual respect from both parties. “First of all, I would like to thank Burgos-BH and express my gratitude for the last three years,” Orts said. “The team has been very important in my career, and until the end of the year, I will continue defending the colours with all pride and respect.”
The rationale behind the separation is rooted in Orts’ ambition to broaden his horizons and delve into areas outside the road cycling sphere. “But I know that the time has come to start a new project and develop myself in specialities such as mountain biking and gravel, which are outside the focus of a road team,” he added.
This move heralds an exciting and uncertain future, both for Orts and the broader sport of cyclocross. While many cyclocross athletes opt for seasonal stints with established road cycling teams, Orts is breaking new ground by forging an entity focused squarely on off-road disciplines. The endeavour could set a precedent for how cyclocross riders navigate their career paths, blending their cyclocross ambitions with the burgeoning world of mountain biking and gravel.
As Felipe Orts embarks on this ambitious project, he not only repositions himself but potentially reshapes the contours of professional cycling. His initiative to cross conventional boundaries could act as a catalyst for other athletes, serving as a blueprint for how to sustain a multifaceted career in a sport that is increasingly encouraging specialisation. The eyes of the cycling world will undoubtedly be on Orts and his FORTS Team as they set wheels in motion for the 2024 season.