February 17, 2015 – The 2015 season kicked off with a new look for the Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD squad with an added main sponsor and some major changes in the team roster. ChewPOD comes on as a major sponsor for the team that will now be know as Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD. The chewable tablet, providing products for endurance sports, such as enhancing performance and recovery, will join main sponsors well known Canadian bike brand Norco and PremierTech, a leader in agricultural, packaging and water treatment industry.
Six riders from the previous team are back, including team director and rider, Sébastien Rousseau, team captain Étienne Samson, along with Louis-Charles Lacroix, Maxime Le Pluart, Samuel Blanchette and Joël Desgrenier. Three new riders have joined the team: Kevin Archambault, Simon Ouellet and Alex Lavertu. The 2015 team should be well balanced with a mix of sprinters (Maxime, Louis-Charles and Simon), climbers (Samuel, Joël and Alex) and overall riders.
The team has also invested a lot in support staff for the new season, with a new technical director, Christophe Gagné, a sport nutritionist, Maya Purcell and a specialist in physical preparation and coach, Myriam Paquette.
Another addition to the 2015 season is the ”multi-sports” team aiming to perform at triathlons, running and mountain biking. The team will also keep the masters club and the development school program in Rivière-du-Loup going.
In 2015, the team riders will be wearing Garneau cycling shoes, Jakroo apparel and Lazar helmets and eyewear. For a third year, riders will be racing and enjoying Norco Tactic bikes while rolling with Avenzi wheels. Live to Play distribution will be providing riders with all of their needs for the season, while Kinatex will be offering physiotherapy services and Cogika will be providing web-hosting.
The full team calendar to be announced in the following weeks.
Team Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD to Race Vuelta Independencia Nacional
Team Norco/PremierTech p/b ChewPOD will be racing the UCI 2.2 Vuelta Independencia Nacional from February 22 to March 1st. The 8-stage tour will be another addition to its UCI stage racing experiences after last December’s Tour of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates and the 2014 Tour de Beauce and Tour du Saguenay.
Étienne Samson, an experienced tour rider, has competed in this event twice. He will be leading the six-man squad. The team will be composed of four team riders, Samuel Blanchette, Kevin Archambault and Simon Ouellet, along with two invitees, Adam Andersen, (previously team member) and Adam Carr, an experienced US rider.
The team’s main goal will be building fitness and experience for the North American season, which begins in April. The race will cover over 1,100 kms with the two first stages being the longest (184 and 187 Kms), while stage 5 will be the Queen Stage with over 20 Kms of continuous climbing. The peloton will be composed of 20 international teams, along which some well known pro teams from North America (Smart Stop, Novo Nordisk) and fearsome Latin America teams (EPM-UNE, Inteja)
Added difficulty for the Canadian riders will be heat acclimation, with average highs of 30 Celsius (that’s probably 50 degrees higher than what riders will be coming from in Canada). Let’s not forget that most of the riders spent the last months riding inside or training in winter sports.
The team will be supported by experienced directeur sportif Phil Cortes, soigneur Camille Tougas-Tellier and mechanic Juan Carlos Tejeda.