Posted by Editoress on 10/8/07
Steve Bauer Interview Part 2
By Matt Hansen
Matt Hansen recently conducted an extensive interview with Canadian cycling legend Steve Bauer. This is Part 2 of the interview - Part 1 can be found in Daily News (see September 25/07 2:30pm EDT - Interview with Steve Bauer: pt 1 - About Team R.A.C.E And State Of Canadian Cycling)
MH: In our last interview, you said you were impressed with the level of Canadian racing, but that more needs to be done. What do you think needs to be done?
Steve Bauer: Yeah, like I said I was impressed with the high level of racing and the depth of the teams. What are we still lacking? Bike races. We need more bike races. But it's not an exact science getting people to put on races. It takes people that want to do it, as there is not the same return in bike racing as other sports.
Guys like Daniel Mannibal, look at him with his plans for Boston to Montreal. It's great. He is trying. Beauce has been running for over 20 years. Guys like Tino Rossi, for 25 years he has organized the Lachine criterium series. Those are guys and organizations who love the sport. We need men and women like that, with the same love of the sport who can contribute energy, organization and sponsorship cash to fund races.
A lot of the times, it's a perfect storm - people who see a race and like it so much they want their own.
MH: So who should be finding these people? The CCA?
SB: The CCA is a governing body. On the racing side, they need to administer the sport and stick to the national team and those projects. The national body can help the riders that do not have a trade team, riders that are on the cusp of getting a shot at a professional career. And of course the big competitions which are the Nationals, Worlds, Olympics.
Keep it simple. Clubs are the key to young riders entering the sport. This is the grassroots. As long as good people continue to be passionate at the club level we will have more juniors found from these clubs.
At R.A.C.E., we have Paul Devries and his company PlanetEnergy. We have an associate investor with a private company Catalyst Capital Group, Newton Glassman. Presently these men are funding the team and will support Canadian cycling the same way Rossi, Mannibal, or the Cunninghams at Symmetrics have. There are more people and companies that would be willing to help build our sport.
There is not one answer or solution to it all. We had the Canadian Tire series, and it's gone. Now we have Beauce, Lachine, BC Superweek, Montreal-Quebec. There is lots of good stuff is out there, and I think while people think cycling has taken a hit due to international doping scandals, the sport is still extremely popular and people love the bike. I feel I am coming back into the race game at the right time. I would love to be on the ProTour during this time.
MH: So is there one type of person out there that potential race organizers need to look for?
SB: It seems to always have the person who is really psyched about cycling. If a person does not have passion for the sport they won't make a difference. Someone who truly likes the sport. Right now, I believe there are more organized teams, more trainers, more riders. There is more momentum and we need to focus in and capitalize on that.
The reason cycling is so different than other sports is there is no gate money. If you buy a team, there is no return cash like in other sports. A sponsor will get good return on branding and exposure if the sponsorship is managed professionally. I believe that cycling is a great investment for branding especially at the ProTour level.
I am not going to sit in my office and complain about what's wrong with Canadian cycling, because I would rather look at what is great and continue to make it greater. We can always do better. When I look back to Atlanta in 1996, we won a bunch of medals: Alison Sydor, Curt Harnett, Brian Walton, Clara Hughes. This success is not attributed to one plan, one program, one team, one club, one coach, one set of races, the CCA. It is because we have talented athletes in Canada and whoever helps to give them support where they need it and when they need it, will get them closer to expressing their individual talents.
Back in the 90s, there was just Evian, Magicuts, Toronto Italia. Now we have UCI teams, and many more. Some of the results I've seen from Canadian teams in the US in the past year are better than anything the guys in the 90's did stateside. There's opportunities for Canadian riders, and it's something we are doing with our squad. I've been negotiating with Canadian riders and I hope to bring some of that talent to our team so we can compete even better abroad.
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