October 6/09 19:33 pm - VW-Specialized Team Pulls the Plug
Posted by Editor on 10/6/09
Josée Robitaille, the force behind the Quebec-based men's road squad VW-Specialized, confirmed today that the team will not continue for 2010, ending a nine year run. The primary reason is that title sponsor Volkswagen could not commit to sponsorship, although Robitaille has also accepted a position with the Quebec cycling federation (FQSC), and would be unable to run the team.
"We were not able to get a commitment from VW before the deadline we wanted (September 30th)," explained Robitaille, "and considering the economic crisis ... We didn't want to make the riders wait."
"We had some ideas for next year, and a new manager in mind, since I'm now working at the FQSC, but we couldn't wait longer so... We've been out there for 9 years with VW, it was great ... but we crossed the finish line ... time to move on now."
While the team in its current incarnation has been on the scene for nine years, the program Robitaille started has run for a quarter century. "I would say lasting for 25 years is one of the greatest accomplishments... and getting the chance to work with all those athletes and watch them "grow up" in the cycling world or in real life."
"I'm still close with a lot of them and sometimes they call me to give me some news about them, some other times they need some advice. I'm happy to still be involved in their day to day life."
"In a more "racing" way, I have to say that Guillaume Boivin's win at Road Nationals this year was great thing and the bronze medal of Alexandre Cloutier and Daniel Chalifour at this year Worlds Paralympics was a great thing. They were with the national team, but Alex was on our team for at least 10 years. I was happy for him because he never quit, even when racing was a little bit harder for him."
"Anyway, there's a lot of good memories. I met a lot of great athletes and great persons. Norman Chiasson at the VW agency (Palm Marketing) believed in us for nine years and he was still trying to lay out something for next year, but things didn't work out for our time deadline. Larry Koury at Specialized was also a great help when we first started and he was still there for the end ... Specialized is a company that also consider the human side of the athletes and that meant a lot to me and the team."
"Anyway, it's been a great ride, I hope that we were able to bring a little something to the cycling community. That would be our greatest achievement!"