After a HUUUUGE 2016 for Silber Pro Cycling, I thought it would be fun to reflect on what I think were the top five moments of 2016.

For 2016 the team expanded from 10 to 11 riders. We had to see off a couple great mates, but took on three great new guys in Kris Dahl, Émile Jean and Julien Gagne. As I sit here in a So-Cal café, training for 2017 with my team mates, thinking back on last year, here are my thoughts on our most memorable team-moments:

5. Ryan Roth 15th at Doha Road World Championships

All year, you, me and my teammates were inspired by Ryan’s performances. Even Gord and Scott had to wonder how he did it. He won – a lot. But when it comes down to it, he is just as human as the next guy and clean. Winston-Salem, Saguenay, Nationals TT, Delta RR and three races at BC Superweek, were taken down by Ryan. However, it was Ryan’s 15th place finish in Doha that was his most memorable.

After spending the day in the break, Ryan managed to latch onto the leaders. He then stayed with the likes of Sagan, Boonen, and others to sprint out the finish. Shortly after his inspiring ride, Ryan put up this post on Facebook:

4. Road Nationals

After a big spring, a lot of eyes were on us going into Canadian Road Nationals. It was great to be at a new venue, in a city with a lot of passion for road cycling. Last year our team had a lot of connections with Ottawa. It is the hometown of 2016 Silber riders Alex Cataford, Matteo Dal-Cin and of course, Gord Fraser.

To say we were gripping our sticks a bit tight going into the races would have been an understatement.

The weekend was full of extreme highs and lows. The team dominated the road race, but I am biased of course. We had good numbers in the early break away. Once things re-shuffled we had one-half of the riders in the final split. As we all know, things took an unfortunate turn for us in the final corner with 300m to go. Matteo slid out, Routley crashed into him, and Ben went right overtop of them. Don’t get me wrong. I think Bruno is a deserving National Champion. He was on some crazy good form for Road Nationals, as was evidence in his spring leading up to the race. However, things would have certainly been different if that crash had not happened. But it did, and that is bike racing.

Next up was the TT. The TT was one of my biggest bitter-sweets of the season. I spent a lot of work prepping for it, then fell flat on my face with a bad combination of allergies, chest infection and asthma. Perhaps my personal lowest of the lows for the season, however, it was one of the team’s biggest moments ever. Three-time winner, Svein Tuft, ended up starting his TT early. He stomped around the course before most of the rest of us had a chance. About 30min later, Alex came through, half a second faster than Svein. In his own words, he thought he had won. Nobody beats Svein in Canada in a flat TT. However, today was like no other as Ryan came through a couple minutes later to post a time of 20 seconds faster.

Wow. 1, 2 at Canadian Timetrial Nationals is pretty cool.

3. Redlands- Sunset Stage

I choose to make my number three moment of the year the last stage of Redlands, rather than the whole tour, because I feel it was at this moment that American cycling was forced to take note of our team (yes, even a well known American cycling reporter who began his interview with Matteo and I after the TT with, “I don’t know who you guys are but here we go…”). We had had three podiums earlier in the tour, but nothing compared to how we dominated the last stage and took the GC win. It was one of the most fun days on the bike I have ever had.

It was at this moment that American cycling was forced to take note of our team.

2. Alberta Team GC Win

We ended our 2015 on a great note. We did not come away with a stage win at Alberta, but with two top 10 GC’s and a stage podium. What we showed at Alberta, was what we showed all year. A strong team. On the first day of the Tour, we had Alex and I in the winning break. We were the only team to do so. This put us well ahead on the Team GC competition. We never looked back all week and handily won the team GC. Sorry Gord! But it was a cool moment!

Team Wins - Alberta GC

1. Utah Stage One

Matteo winning Redlands, Roth at Winston-Salem and the team leading the UCI America’s tour was great. Amazing. Thanks to these and other efforts, the team grew from being known in Canada to being known as a player in the Americas. However, it was Kris Dahl’s massive sprint that grew the team to the next level on stage one of Utah. This of course led to the team having to take the reigns the following day as Kris was in the leader’s jersey. A great week in Utah.

Dahl wins!!

Many thanks to all for following along last year. All the best to the boys moving on, and welcome to the new guys. Here’s to a great 2017 of cycling for Canadians!

Nigel Ellsay

Written by Nigel Ellsay

Nigel joined Silber in 2014 as a 'stagiaire'. 2016 was a break out season for him and he's set to take on a key role in 2017. Nigel lives on Vancouver Island in BC - in a lovely little town called Courtenay at the base of Mt. Washington. He's a great time trialist.

Leave a Reply