Norco Factory Team Update – Canada Cup #5
July 28, 2016
By: Evan Guthrie
On Saturday July 23rd the 5th round of Cycling Canada’s national series – The Canada Cup – took place in St Felicien (St Fe), Quebec. St Fe has hosted multiple National Championship events and a World Cup in 2007. This race followed the National Championships last weekend in Baie-St-Paul (BSP), Quebec. The Norco Factory team has been having a great year and Nationals was a major target for the team. Peter Disera came away with the under-23 National Title. The team also took home the Team Relay National Title. Some of us elite guys and Haley struggled a bit and weren’t entirely satisfied with our races.
St Felicien was our weekend to get redemption and that we did. Something very special happened in the race. Before getting in too far here’s a quick recap of the week: the team stayed in BSP for a few extra days to train in the Charlevoix region. Team caption Kevin Haviland headed west to the 2017 Norco product launch. Us athletes were sad to miss the event. Big congratulations to Ryan Leech who celebrated 20 years with Norco! He’s a huge role model to us all. The team headed north with assistant caption Josh Toohill and arrived in St Fe a few days early to prepare on course and sharpen our swords for the weekend. The great thing about having a mechanic, assistant caption and all around helper extraordinaire who races DH like Josh is that he can come out on pre ride and scope lines with us.
Here’s short video of the team riding the race course: LINK
By race morning everyone was itching to toe the line. Haley put together a strong race and came from 6th after the start loop to finish 2nd. She fought off local Quebec national champions and medallists from the national championships. It’s only her first year in the senior category as well!
The guys squad started off with our team warm up, which turned into a 4-man pace line and got our adrenaline going. We could all see that it was going to be a good day. Coming into this race 3 of the 4 guys have each won one of the last three Canada Cups. It’s quite incredible to have depth like this on a team. We kept saying all week that it was Andrews turn to win here. He rose to the occasion and attacked early to get out front. The pace strung out the field and caused some chaos in the chase. Evan Mcneely and I were able to capitalize on this and bridge up to Andrew.
Photo: Aiden Brown
By lap 2 Andrew, Evan and I were off the front riding as a unit and building the gap. I think I can speak for the other guys when I say that riding in this position created energy, drive and the desire to win. We didn’t need to communicate much, we just took turns pulling in the windy sections and rode smart and efficient. We all knew without saying a word that what was going on was unexplainably special and that we could go 1-2-3. These guys aren’t just my teammates, they’re my friends. One of Canada’s Rio Olympians – Leandre Bouchard – was racing and we all have incredible respect for this guy. He’s been consistently top-20 in all the World Cups this year, so it was an honour to be on the podium spraying Champagne with this Rio-bound athlete.
In the end were crossed the line with Andrew taking his first Canada Cup win, myself in second and Mcneely in third. Peter followed up with a strong ride to finish 7th. Mcneely is still leading the Canada Cup series as we approach the finals on August 19th at Crankworx. Andrew is in second and I moved into third spot overall. Norco also continues to lead the overall team ranking.
Photo: Caroline Gautier
I may need to research this more but it’s either been an incredibly long time or it’s never happened where a team has finished 1-2-3 at a Canada Cup and won 4 races with 4 different athletes in the same year. We have an incredible team right now and I can’t thank everyone enough for what they bring to the program. Everyone at Norco Bicycles and Live to Play Sports who supports this program, our team sponsors who provide us the best and most reliable equipment, and our team captains Kevin Haviland, Jonathan Duncan and Josh Toohill who drive us around, work on our bikes, and keep us in line.
The team is now dispersing back to their homes until we gather back up in Mont-Sainte-Anne for the World Cup on August 7th.
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