Posted by Editoress on 11/29/11
The 2012 season will be one of change and evolution for the team. First of all, the team's new name, Ekoï.com/Gaspésien heralds the arrival of a new major partner in the likes of equipment and apparel supplier Ekoï. Another major change to the team is the signing of seven new riders who will join four carry-over members from last year. In addition to this, the riders will proudly race on bikes supplied by Canadian manufacturer Devinci and will also receive the support of Coaching Financier Trek. Finally, the team is on the verge of receiving UCI continental status.
The redesigned team is hoping to pick up where the former team left off last season, as 2011 was one of many successes. What's more, the squad is building the foundation for a long lasting development program, which will perpetuate the team for the seasons to come.
2012 is building up to be a very busy season for Ekoi.com/Gaspésien. "To start the season off with a bang, we hope to be invited to the Vuelta independencia in the Dominican Republic and we would love to take part in the Tour of Morocco. The Tour de Beauce, the Tour de Toona in Pennsylvania and the Sea Otter Classic in California are absolute musts for us," said Stéphane Tremblay, the team's Directeur Sportif.
Yannick Bédard, François Chabot, Antoine Matteau, and Mathieu Roy will form the nucleus of the team once more this upcoming season. Bédard is again aiming at sprint finales in 2012. He won the Tour de Québec's sprint competition last season. For Chabot, an invite to prestigious events such as the Sprint Challenges at the Québec and Montreal Grand Prix's would be icing on the cake. He surprised many by finishing third in the Canadian Sprint Challenge last season.
His partner in crime and Quebec provincial road race champ, Antoine Matteau, will be the team's go-to rider during stage and one day races. Last but not least, veteran and criterium specialist Mathieu Roy will try add to his trophy case the overall title of the Mardis Cycliste Lachine, where he has finished runner-up two years in a row.
The newcomers to the team are not only valuable assets, but also represent the future of the squad. Despite their young age, they bring a wealth of experience at the national level, as well as at the international level. Pierrick Naud has already stood on many European podiums while Emile Jean is the 2011 Canadian junior road race champion. Charles Matte won the title during the Quebec provincial championships, and Jordan Brochu won the criterium title during the same championships. For Jean-Samuel Deshaies, 2011 was a season of steady and constant progression and, despite an injury, he still posted some top ten finishes at the highest level of competition.
Despite a terrible training accident last year the young rider from Ontario, Charles Bryer, accomplished some amazing feats such as pulling off the win at the Good Friday Race. Adding international experience, and a mentor to the younger riders will be seasoned veteran American Adam Carr. Carr raced for the team at the end of last season and posted some good results, such as a top ten finish at the Univest GP.
"The new recruits are very focused and intent on performing at the top level ... Furthermore, with the backing of our new partners, the management team will be able to give extra support to the riders throughout the season. It's really stimulating to see the team slowly grow-up! Who would have thought 17 years ago that our "little league" team would attain this level of competition!," comments team DS Stéphane Tremblay.
The new team will have within it's grasp an extensive network of support supplied by the partners; Ekoï America (apparel and accessories), Les Cuisines Gaspésien (financial), Devinci (bikes) and Coaching Financier Trek (financial). For Ekoï America's partner, Sébastien Hue, having a top level team in North-America matches the efforts put forward internationally to become a "go-to" partner in the professional pelotons and points to the AG2R WorldTour partnership as a good example.
"For us, the growth of Ekoï is proportional to the amount of support put into the development of cycling. We are really proud to have the opportunity to assist these young riders! Our goal is to be less demanding of results and put the emphasis on giving riders who believe in themselves the opportunity to see, and to be seen, at the highest level of competition. Furthermore, they will be partners in product development, especially in the high-end spectrum. They will put the products through intensive testing!"
The team colours and official team presentation date will soon be disclosed ... Stay tuned!
Courtesy Randy Ferguson
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