April 16, 2015 (San Francisco, CA) – Chris Horner’s UCI development-focused squad, Airgas Safeway, had its big launch celebration in San Francisco. The team features Canada’s Emmanual Gagne, and will be contesting the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA this weekend. Airgas Safeway has already kicked off its early season with the Redlands Bicycle Classic and will continue with the Joe Martin Stage Race and Tour de Gila later this month.
After the squad’s training camp, where they spent a sunny week riding in the rolling hills just 30 minutes north of San Francisco at their home base in Novato, California, the 2015 Airgas-Safeway Pro team rolled out its many gems at the team presentation, including new bikes (Marin) wheels (Knight) and the perennially amiable, venerable Horner, who at age 43, showed every sign that he is as excited about guiding this team (and winning more races) as he was about winning the Vuelta in 2013.
Yet Horner’s presence underlined the real spotlight on the many young rising US-Canadian-Mexican talent who’ll hope to utilize Horner’s insights and experience to gain palmares of their own in the near future, while they (in the words of former Pro cyclist John Eustice, master of ceremonies) “bleed their eyeballs out” for each other in the 2015 races.
Horner will be heading a talented pool including Matt Rodriguez 27, Cullen Easter, 27, whose brother Griffin Easter, 23, is the current US collegiate national champion; all of the other riders on the team are 23 or younger. The youngest, Austin Vincent, is still just 18 and recently competed with the US cyclo-cross junior team at the UCI World Championships.
Other riders include 19-year-old Canadian Emmanuel Gagne, a stage winner at the junior Nations Cup event Tour l’Abitibi; former Bissell Development Team rider Alex Darville, 20; Stanford student Tim Aikin, 20; l’Abitibi stage winner Gerardo Medina of Mexico, 20; Kevin Gottlieb, 23; Matt Lyons, 23; Chris Meacham, 20; two-time Mexican champion and former Jelly belly rider Luis Lemus, 22; Justin Mauch, 20; and San Rafael Twilight Criterium winner Connor McCutcheon, 23.
Horner, who is known for keeping the team vibe relaxed, rode onto the stage and quickly rolled into one of his many philosophical gems as his young team lined up aside him:
“I was seriously considering retiring but my kids said they wanted to keep telling their friends that ‘my dad is a professional athlete’ so I couldn’t let them down. Besides…life’s all about living the moment, and then when you’re not living the moment you’re telling someone about the moment you lived.”
2015 Airgas-Safeway roster: Tim Aikin, Alex Darville, Cullen Easter, Griffin Easter, Emmanuel Gagne, Kevin Gottlieb, Chris Horner, Luis Lemus, Matt Lyons, Justin Mauch, Connor McCutcheon, Chris Meacham, Gerardo Medina, Matt Rodriguez, Austin Vincent.
Find out more about the team at www.d3devo.com.