July 23/08 8:18 am - Meier Inks Deal with Garmin Chipotle
Posted by Editor on 07/23/08
Meier Inks Deal with Garmin
Editor's Note: We knew about this 'off the record' at the Road Nationals, but were asked to keep quiet until Garmin was ready to annouce the deal. Christian was extremely excited about it, and the rest of the squad very pleased on his behalf.
Less than three weeks ago Sussex, New Brunswick's Christian Meier won the Canadian Road Championships in St. Georges, Quebec. He was the first rider from Atlantic Canada to ever win the road championships - and he did it on the heels of the Under 23 Championship that he won in 2007. Now Meier has more good news: he has signed on to be a 'Stagiare' with leading US team Garmin-Chipotle presented by H3O for the remainder of 2008. Team Garmin-Chipotle is currently riding in the Tour de France. When Meier joins the team in early August he will be competing in the highest echelons of the sport. "Riding pro in Europe is every bikers dream" said Meier, "I can't wait. Garmin has a fantastic program. They're doing everything right and culturally it will be a good fit." adds Meier. Team Garmin is an American team with North American style management and a strong commitment to clean sport.
Meier is no stranger to Europe, however, last year at the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany he was Canada's strongest Under 23 (Espoir) rider, featuring in several pivotal attacks in the race's closing kilometers before finishing in the lead group of riders. In April's Under 23 World Cup race in Belgium - the classic Liege Bastogne Liege - Meier finished 7th.
Those results, coupled with a slew strong performances over his last three seasons racing with his current Symmetrics Cycling Team, have made more than one European-based team director take note of the young Canadian. Last October Meier finished second overall in the five day Vuelta Chihuahua International race in Mexico. Team Garmin -then Team Slipstream Chipotle - was at that race with its Danish Director Johnny Weltz. When Weltz saw Meier's grit in Mexico he knew the young man had what it takes to make it in the climbing intensive races of Europe's professional racing circuit.
A 'Stagiare' position is like a try-out. Meier has no guarantees he'll be riding with Team Garmin in 2009. But it's an important first step. Team Garmin will be looking for Meier to ride well, integrate with his team-mates and show he has the capacities to be a solid team player. Meier is scheduled to race the tours of Limousin and Poitou-Charentes in France before returning to North America for September's Tour of Missouri. Meier's season is set to end with the prestigious classic Giro di Lombardia in Italy. As the newly crowned National Champion Meier will wear a special jersey with a maple leaf design. This will be the first time since 1997 that the Canadian Road Champion's jersey has seen action at a pro level in Europe.
"This is a fantastic validation of our program" said Kevin Field - Meier's director on the Symmetrics team. "It's our goal to develop Canadian cycling by building our team and its individual talents. Ideally we build our team on the same trajectory as our athletes, if we can't do that, we are very proud to see them move on to the highest levels of the sport."
"It is our long-term goal to be where Garmin is right now," adds Field "realistically we're not there yet. It's all still in the works, but it takes some time and sponsor relationships that we haven't established yet. It's definitely positive for us, we can leverage this with our partners to show we have credibility when we say our goal is to develop athletes and a program at that top level."