August 23, 2013 (Sherbrooke) – One of the big goals of the Stevens Racing women’s program at the beginning of the year was to qualify as many athletes as possible for the Canada Games in Sherbrooke Quebec. These were the biggest multi-sport Games held in the province of Quebec since the 1976 Olympics. The team not only qualified two athletes, but both went on to medal twice at the Games!
It is hard to pick out the biggest successes of the year but some of the other most memorable results are:
– Foreman-Mackey’s bronze medal at the U23 National Championships in the Time Trial
– Ariane Bonhomme, the team’s only Junior rider, finishing 3rd in the Time Trial at Nationals, winning the team pursuit at the Pan-American Junior Championships and representing Canada at the World Junior Track Cycling Championships.
– Catherine Dessureault achieving two top-five performances at BC Superweek.
The trip out to BC Superweek was bar-raising and exposed the team to a higher level of racing, as they found themselves in a 60-rider field with three top North American professional teams in attendance. And they stepped up to the challenge – of the seven athletes the team brought out, five finished in the top-10 at one point or another, and all returned home as stronger racers.
There is a dearth of teams and sponsorships supporting developing women racers in Canada, and in the last two years Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery has endeavoured to fill this gap by developing into the best program of its kind in Canada – and hopefully we are beginning to see the signs of progress.
Annie has been selected to compete at the Jeux de La Francophonie in Nice, and is already on her way to race in Europe. Several other members of the team are busily preparing for the upcoming National Track Championships in an attempt to make the team’s development activities congruent with Canadian Cycling’s long term vision for road and track integration.
All of these results and selections are signs that we are headed in the right direction.
It fills the management with pride that we can honestly say that every member of Stevens Racing is a better bike rider than when they joined the program.
What is in store for 2014?
In short: more of the same. We will continuing to work to provide the team members with material and logistical support and to give them exposure to higher calibre racing. Racing that will help these riders take the incremental steps along the way to their long term dreams.
Bike racing is a sport of years – it takes continuous effort over time to make the improvements needed to be top flight international riders. The cycling world is beginning to embrace professional women’s racing – with discussions of a women’s Tour de France in coming years. But right now there is a hole in women’s development in Canada as riders have no clear pathway into the international ranks.
To fill this hole we will need the support of the local community more than ever before. We would like to invite companies and organisations to partner with us on this journey in sporting development. So that someday those riders in the Women’s Tour de France might just be Stevens Alumni.
The Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery Women’s team would also like to celebrate the achievements of their sibling team member Matteo Dal Cin who won gold and silver medals at Canada Games, and will join Annie at the Jeux de La Francophonie.