April 20/06 9:36 am - Matt DeCanio Returns to Cycling
Posted by Editor on 04/20/06
Matt DeCanio Returns to Cycling
Courtesy O2 Sports Media
Road cycling's anti-doping 'bad' boy Matt DeCanio has announced he will return to competition in 2006. Two years after his last race and one year after being fired by the Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada cycling team over uncompromising web site content, DeCanio is using the Tour of Shenandoah in his home state of Virginia, June 25-30, as the springboard for his next great cycling odyssey.
The Tour of Shenandoah will be DeCanio's first bicycle race since 2003, and he sees it as an obvious place to resume his racing career. "I come from Virginia, it's my stomping ground. The Tour of Shenandoah is a long race, and there's a good field. I know the mountains real well, and I know the people. It is where I feel comfortable coming back to the sport," says DeCanio.
Race director Matt Butterman is pleased to have DeCanio in the field. "Although not exclusively for young riders, the Tour of Shenandoah is a lot about being the showcase for the big names of the future. In Matt DeCanio's case, he is re-launching his cycling career, so yes, it makes a lot of sense for him to be here from our perspective as well as his. And let's not forget, DeCanio is a bike racer with a great pedigree."
Timing was another factor and DeCanio continues, "I had to work in my current job one full year before being allowed to take time off, so I'm taking vacation days to race. I sell exotic cars Ë† before that I was delivering pizza. For me it feels like a success story. I am making enough money now to fund a bicycle racing team and I have plans to expand that team into other sports. It is not only cycling that has a problem with drugs and corruption."
DeCanio, now 29, will continue his campaign against drug abuse in sport and plans to finance a 'rebel' team of young riders who are willing to speak out against doping. The team's name will be Stolen Underground. "This is Stop One on the 'Fighting Corruption Tour campaign' I have a brand new Hummer H2 that I will be driving to races. I know from the environmentalist's perspective this is a horrible vehicle, but I need to make a point," states DeCanio.
As a certain governor of California once famously suggested in a movie, DeCanio is back, and he's not coming back quietly. "You should see the jersey I will have. There will be a skull and cross-bones, it will say Fighting Corruption all over it," he says. A street artist is part of the campaign as well, and DeCanio says that not much farther down the pike there will be bicycle brand called Stolen Underground that encompases BMX, mountain bikes and road bikes.
First, however, there is the matter of racing at Shenandoah. About his aspirations in the race, DeCanio is realistic. "I've only got 30 days of hard training in my legs. Previously I'd been riding on and off, then a month ago I decided I was going to ride the Tour of Shenandoah and use that to launch the Fight Corruption Tour and the Stolen Underground team. All I need to do is finish the race. My number one goal is not to win races, it is for every bike racer to find out about www.stolenundeground.com and the Fight Corruption Tour."
He will ride at Shenandoah as a one-person team and is listed as unattached. "I like it that way, I am starting the movement alone, and little by little people will see it and join me. The team is aimed mainly at young people, who are the most at risk of abusing drugs either as athletes or recreationally. It is for people with rage in them. A lot of kids want to fight the power, they want to rage against something. What I am doing is providing a vehicle for them to do that, and what they are fighting against is something that is bad for society. I mean, what is cool about drugs and corruption? You've gotta fight it!"
Matt DeCanio was a professional cyclist for four years and spent six years with the U.S. National Team including three trips to the World Championships. He raced on such prestigious pro teams as Prime Alliance, Saturn and Linda McCartney and has competed in 22 countries. Career highlights include a stage victory in the Sea Otter Classic, yellow jersey wearer in the G.P. de Beauce, yellow jersey wearer in the Tour de Toona, 5th Overall in the 2003 Sea Otter Classic, 8th overall in the 2003 Redlands Classic as well as being a former junior national time trial champion. His strengths are time trialing and mountain top finishes.
Read more about Matt DeCanio's plans at www.stolenunderground.com