February 8, 2006 – Canada’s top professional team, UCI Continental Symmetrics Pro Cycling Team is aiming to become North America’s number one. With a beefed-up squad and increased sponsor support, the British Columbian-based team is confident that the UCI America Tour is within its grasp — a heretofore unprecedented claim for a Canadian team. Following last year’s strong showing at a range of US and Canadian Pro events, which include NRC (National Racing Calendar) wins, as well as a bevy of National Championship wins and medals, Symmetrics Cycling finished an impressive third on the UCI (International Cycling Union) America Tour, behind American team Health Net/Maxxis. In 2006, the team will not only attack its usual calendar of Canadian races — including the Tour de Beauce, where Langley’s Svein Tuft held the leader’s yellow jersey and finished second overall behind top-ranked Australian Nathan O’Neill — and American NRC races, but six international UCI races in Mexico, Brazil, Ireland and China.
After the team’s training camp in Vancouver BC this week, Symmetrics team members will head to Tucson, Arizona for the Vuelta Sonora-Arizona from Feb 28-Mar 5. This race begins in the USA and heads to the heat of Mexico where several top American, Canadian and Mexican teams are racing. The team will then head north to Fresno, California for the Central Valley Classic, before tossing its Spanish dictionary aside for a Portuguese one to compete in Brazil for two stage races: the Volta de Ciclismo Internacional do Estado De Sao Paulo (March 19-26) and the Volta do Rio de Janeiro (April 4-9).
The team will also split its squad for the other highlights of the spring campaign, including the recently reincarnated and notoriously hilly Willamette Valley Classic in Oregon (April 21-23). Following that, the team will head further south to the Vuelta a El Salvador from April 29-May 5. After a quick trip home to clean the laundry, Symmetrics will be sending a team to the steep hills of Ireland for the FBD Insurance RAS from May 21-27, and another squad to the NRC Mt Hood Cycling Classic to defend the team’s win from 2005. Riders will then return home to recuperate and prepare for the core of the season, as the BC contingent of the team is set to let local riders race against the S-Train. Look for Symmetrics to show up at several BC cups and regional races in the month of May and June like the West Side Classic/BC Road Champs, the infamous Bastion Square Crit and the well-known Gary Lund road race. And don’t think the team will be using these races as training: They’ll be gunning for the win, and of course, local bragging rights.
June is an especially important time of the team, with the team returning to Tour de Beauce, where “Tuft and co.” hopes to up last year’s finish by one place, and take a few stage wins to boot. After last year’s dominant performance, (which was considered a “breakthrough” result only for those who haven’t followed the gifted time triallist’s venerable career) the team is set to return with more pressure, but more horsepower: Tuft will have his trusty lieutenants Eric Wohlberg and Jacob Erker at his side, along with new teammates Andrew Randell and last year’s best young rider at Beauce, Brandon Crichton.
With top form from this collection of top stage races, the team will then turn its focus to the National Road Championships, which return to the East, in la belle province of Quebec. Set in the first weekend of July, the team has its eyes set on all the prizes — the under-23, as well as the elite men’s and women’s road races, criteriums, and time trials. With most of the top time triallists, road racers and criterium riders and young riders in Canada now taking their spot on Symmetrics Cycling, look for big things come June 29 to July 2.
After a quick recovery in Quebec, half the Symmetrics team will get to skip Chinese takeout for the week of July 15-23, and get the real thing. Symmetrics will send a full squad to contest the Tour of Qinghai Lake, China, a tough and famous race with a strong presence from some of the top teams in Europe and Asia. The other half of the team will race one of the highlights of the Canadian racing season – BC Superweek. Looking for a win in both the overall, and the individual races — Delta, Gastown and Whiterock, Symmetrics Cycling is hoping for redemption for last year; the annual event is one of the big targets for the team.
After the Asian adventure, the team will reunite for another appearance in Eastern Canada, racing the Capital City Classic, in Ottawa. The team is set to race every weekend following, concluding with the Tour of Chihuahua from October 10-15. The team is also working on one additional UCI race in the month of September; stay tuned. The team has now reached a level where Symmetrics riders are not outsiders, or underdogs at international events.
“With national press coverage of the team’s accolades in print, television and radio, the worst-kept secret is out: Symmetrics Cycling has one of the strongest, if not the strongest set of riders riding on a trade team in Canada.” Director-Sportif, Jeremy Storie points out. “This year we have a bolstered squad, both in size and quality, and an increased sponsorship presence, so we are definitely ready to take a “˜no prisoners’ attitude at all Canadian, American, or International events. As team sprinter Andrew Pinfold always says — let’s give “˜er!” Click here for a detailed race schedule for 2006.