Sometimes you don’t want a book to end. The story is basically wrapped up but you don’t want to finish the final lines because you know the strange vacuum you’ll feel looking up from the pages and re-entering everyday life. But the planet keeps rotating on its tilted axis. So you get up and move on while struggling to carry the intensity of the narrative you’ve finished in your steps.
Well, I’ve been dragging out thank-yous in pieces. I’ve thanked Arthur Silber, Michael Wolfe and Harold Stotland already on this site and at events. I want now to thank the 2018 riders–especially Nicolas Masbourian and Ryan Roth. In a final post later this week, I’ll write about all the incredible staff and sponsors before we convert Silber’s website and social media to an exciting new Continental team that Gord Fraser and I are running: Floyd’s Pro Cycling.
Here’s a quick map of where last year’s riders ended up.
Graydon Staples, Danick Vandale, Marc-Antoine Soucy and Stephen Bassett are stepping down from the Continental ranks, though I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear more from Bassett. Travis Samuel will be riding with DC Bank, another Canadian Conti team, while Adam Roberge has moved to US-based Elevate – KHS. Another rider who signed with a Continental team was Charles-Etienne Chrétien, who will be racing with the Japanese team, Interpro. Meanwhile, Nick Zukowsky and Emile Jean will be directed by Gord on Floyd’s Pro Cycling. Thanks to all the above for some memorable rides, and we look forward to seeing Travis, Adam and Charles on the road.
As previously announced, the charismatic Pier-André Côté will be racing with Rally – UHC cycling, becoming the 3rd Silber rider to join one of the fastest developing Pro-Continental teams in the world. Adam Jamieson will be focusing on the track and qualifying with Canada’s Team Pursuit for the 2020 Olympics. There will be more news on Alec Cowan shortly, but it will be exciting to watch the careers of all three of these riders progress.
And then there’s Nicolas Masbourian and Ryan Roth. ‘Masbou’ was one of the original riders that inspired us to convert the Quebec-based club team, Medique, into a UCI Continental Team–Silber Pro Cycling. Masbou always flew under the radar. Even on Medique, riders such as James Picolli and Elliot Doyle took the limelight. But consider this: Masbou is one of the very few Canadian riders to be signed to a UCI registered team for the last 5 years. On paper, his greatest achievements took place in 2016, when he represented Canada at the World Tour races in Quebec and Montreal, and at the World Championships in Qatar. Masbou’s unassuming demeanour and lack of top podium finishes might make it hard to realize–even for himself–that he became one of the elite riders in Canada despite a series of crashes that might have ended many other riders’ careers. On different occasions, past Silber riders Ben Perry and Alex Cataford went out of their way to talk about Masbou’s fitness and contributions to the team. Guys like Masbou are exactly the kinds of riders that Silber Pro Cycling tried to identify and ensure they had opportunities–because our mission was to help develop and showcase the underestimated potential of Canadian cycling. In 2019 he will focus on school and spend more time coaching in Quebec City with MaKadence, Christine Gillard’s program which has developed many of Canada’s best cyclists including Pier-André Côté and bronze medalist at the recent World Championships, Simone Boillard.
If Masbou was a rider who we caught from falling through the cracks, Ryan Roth was the face of Silber Pro Cycling. He should be remembered as the team’s leader, road captain, and the cerebral rider whose grit and toughness produced the most UCI wins for our team. In 2016, his best season with Silber, Roth won at Winston Salem, Delta, the overall at Saguenay and the National ITT title. He represented Canada at the World Championships in 2015 and 2016, where he finished 15th. He raced in pain for much of 2017 and 2018 until we finally figured out the problem, but even an injured Roth was always a contributor and able to hit the podium at races as difficult as Winston Salem. Roth’s key contribution to Silber, however, was off the bike because he helped professionalize our team through advice and through his daily actions at races. As I’ve said on several occasions, the arrival of Ryan and Matteo Dal-Cin midway through 2014 gave Silber Pro Cycling enough credibility for me to grow the team. In 2019 Ryan will be riding with X-Speed United, a Continental team born of a Canadian-Australian-Hong Kong alliance.
One of the privileges of putting this team together has been getting to know the riders during moments of stress and success. Aside from Masbou and Roth, I want to thank especially Ben Perry (Israel Cycling Academy), Alex Cataford (Israel Cycling Academy) and Nigel Ellsay (Rally) for the time spent and thoughtfulness in which they helped me. I’m really proud of the way they represent their generation of Canadian professional cyclists. I’m also looking forward to working with the riders on Floyd’s Pro Cycling, including proven hitters Travis McCabe, Serghei Tvetcov, Jonathan Clarke and up-and-coming riders like Keegan Swirbul and Nick Zukowsky as well as 5 other Canadians. FPC will not have as many Canadian riders as Silber, but the cross-border racers should have a lot to say as they race through their cross-category calendar that combines road, gravel and MTB events. Almost time to flip the page on the final chapter of Silber. Stay tuned!