December 11/98 12:53 pm - Post-Gala Report and Gossip
Posted by Editor on 12/11/98
Report From Victoria
Nearly 300 people came out to the Canadian Airlines Champions of Cycling CCSD Gala last night , to schmooze, check out and bid on Silent Auction items, receive and applaud awards announcements and eat the obligatory chicken dinner. After the dinner (which went an hour and a half over schedule, of course), around 50 or so of us repaired to a local club (Axis), where the serious partying began. I left around 3:00 am, but the party was still going real strong at that point. Bits and pieces of society type stuff from the evening to keep you going while I catch my plane:
- the Silent Auction raised over $5000 towards the CCSD National Cycling Centre.
- the Canadian Cyclist table was well attended, with Roland Green and Trish Sinclair, Chris Sheppard, Seamus McGrath, Ryder Hesjedel, Damiaann Skelton all there from the National team. Seamus was looking particularly resplendent in his black crushed velvet Hugo Boss suit.
- in fact, I had a hard time recognizing some people, all dressed up as they were Ã‹â€ Melanie McQuaid in a slinky black dress and black feather boa (which Bruce Spicer very fetchingly wore later while dancing at Axis, but we wonÃ¢â‚¬Å¡t go thereÃ¢Ë†â€˜); Chrissy Redden with an elaborately coiffed hairdo that was a hit of the evening (she looked rather different than the last time I had seen her Ã‹â€ after winning `Cross NationalsÃ¢Ë†â€˜).
- Tanya Dubnicoff, who won the CCA PresidentÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s Award for Senior Athlete of the Year, gave a long and very moving speech about the ups and downs of the last few years, and how she has rededicated herself to the sport. Despite the fact that this was right at the end of the evening, the banquet hall was silent and attentive to her motivational speech.
- Team signing stuff: Chris Sheppard will probably sign his Team Catera contract within the week, right now the lawyers are just looking things over. The much fought over Amber Chorney, it appears, will ride for Fisher in 1999, it will be a joint deal between Fisher and the Canadian distributor (Outdoor Gear Canada). Eric Wohlberg will stay with Shaklee. Linda Jackson will lead a downsized Timex-Cannondale team Ã‹â€ like so many squad, they are facing a money crunch (with co-sponsor Saeco pulling out of womenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s racing). In fact, there was much talk about how bad things are on the sponsorship and team front, both in Canada and the U.S. Riders like Sue Palmer and Peter Wedge are still looking, and they are not alone. It also appears that the Norba National series might be getting squeezed, since most of the top teams are going to concentrate on the World Cup, and crucial UCI ranking points in the year before the Olympics. You may also start to see some of the top riders back on the Canada Cup circuit, chasing those UCI points.
- the ex-Cactus Cup appears to be a dead issue Ã‹â€ riders will go to training camps (trade team and National team) in January/February, and start their season with Redlands and Sea Otter, before the start of the World Cup in Napa, California. Roadies such as Eric Wohlberg will start with the Tour of Langkawi in Malaysia, and then Redlands.
- The national team spent 8 hours on Thursday at a photo shoot with Tim Hortons (who are reportedly signed through as a sponsor until 2001). Seamus McGrath was the star of the show, since the photographers loved his Ã…â€™white rastaÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ look Ã‹â€ so expect to see lots of Seamus when you go looking for your timbitsÃ¢Ë†â€˜
ThatÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s all for now Ã‹â€ photos and CCA awards results later this evening.