Following up on Nigel’s piece highlighting the team’s 2016 successes, I wanted to do the same as we switch over into 2018
Looking closer at some of the new elements brought on last year and what we can expect from them going forward. Nigel’s incremental improvement, consistency and commitment to his profession has already been touched on here and here, so let’s take a look at the rest of the roster and 5 standouts in no particular order.
5 Silber Standouts & Gallery
1. Emile Jean Breaks Out
Emile has flown under the radar the past couple years. A solid and selfless teammate, his role in the team’s past results should not be underestimated. Emile stepped up and put some of the teams best wins on the board in 2017, including stages at the Grand Prix de Saguenay and Tour de Beauce. Another high point was his teaming up with Pier-André Côté at the back of our developing lead out efforts. Look for him to keep that momentum going and to be a constant presence in both bunch sprints and more selective group finishes.
2. Pier-André Côté Shows Sprinting Chops
Arguably one of the lower key additions for 2017, Pier André turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Admittedly, my knowledge of PA prior to the season was limited. Our first day of racing together as a team was the road race at the Tucson Bicycle Classic. Within a few kilometres PA’s ease in the bunch was evident and by the end of the day his race savvy and grit were also on display. He continued the season by winning the National Crit Championships and gaining a wide array of exposure to new races and competitors. I think this will serve him well as he steps into the role of lead sprinter.
3. Alec Cowan Ebbs and Flows
Alec’s talent and ability were rightly recognized in 2016 with some strong rides in Europe as well as stand out time trials at both the National and U23 World Championships. He continued to display this in 2017 with a podium finish at the rainy, technical and super aggressive final day crit at the Joe Martin Stage Race; as well as winning the TT at the Tour de Beauce and holding yellow until the last stage. He also snagged the KoM jersey on the last day of the ATB Tour of Alberta spending all day in the break raiding KoM points during the Edmonton circuit race. These high water marks were interspersed with some lower points, but I have a ton of confidence Alec can parlay last year’s experience into more regular stops on the podium.
4. Nick Zukowsky Goes on the Attack
More than a couple times throughout the course of the season I’d have to remind myself this Zuke guy was a junior last year. Always calm and cool, Nick was a loyal, hard-working addition to the 2017 squad. His multiple appearances in breakaways all year will surely add more depth to his fitness and provide valuable experience for him to utilize going forward. A classic “rouleur”, look for him to continue rolling the breaks and hopefully exploiting the team’s depth into more tangible results. One doesn’t spend that much time at and off the front and not learn from it.
5. Yohan Patry Grows into Lead Mechanic Role
Keeping with the youth theme, a new, but critical member of any cycling team was added for 2017: our mechanic Yohan Patry. Yohan was thrown into the fire of team camp: varying arrival times for equipment, figuring out new technology and dealing with time-sensitive builds and repairs. These demands are constant and priorities are always shifting throughout the year for a continental team running a program all over North America. He drove countless kilometres arriving at races only to have to be the first one up and working at the trailer prior to us heading out for a morning ride. Learning on the fly and alongside our other mechanic, Richard Knutson, no doubt will serve him well in 2018 where he will carry on working a solid butt groove in the back seat of the team car. 😊
No doubt it will be exciting to see how these guys perform in 2018 alongside the rest of the returning riders and new additions to Silber Pro Cycling.