Last year was very successful for Silber Pro Cycling, what’s in store to continue the trend of success?
I’m confident that 2016 will see the trend continue. We’ve retained our emerging talent and complimented our core personnel with 3 new signings.
Does having one veteran like Ryan Roth help guide such a young squad?
The team overall continues to be very young and having a leader to guide them is paramount. Silber Pro Cycling is very fortunate to count on Ryan Roth to captain the squad. I won’t soon forget his solo victory in Canada’s crown jewel, the Gastown GP but what’s overshadowed is how he sets the tone and leads the team. He exemplifies professionalism and our young riders would do well to emulate him.
It was exciting to watch Ben Perry the second half the season. Is he returning?
Ben Perry returns and hopes to build on a fine end of season where he came to national attention during the Tour of Alberta by taking the KOM competition. His ride at U23 worlds was excellent and I look forward to what our charismatic espoir National Champion can accomplish next year.
What returning Silber rider has been the most influential?
Matteo Dal Cin has been influential in many of our other race wins last year. He continues to make significant gains as highlighted by taking the first stage and holding on to the overall win at the UCI ranked Grand Prix de Saguenay. Look for the Ottawa native to continue his progression.
Elliot Doyle returns coming off a roller coaster year, will we see more of him in 2016?
Our fastman Elliott Doyle had a promising start to 2015 with a fine finish during the criterium at Redlands but the combination of his studies, sickness and crashes halted his momentum during much of last year. I’m certain our man from Alma will improve next year as our speed department gets reinforcements- more on that in a minute.
In 2015 Silber signed a relatively unknown rider with a running background. Now Michael Le Rossignol is back for 2016. How was it watching a runner learn the sport of cycling at such a high level?
When team owner Scott McFarlane told me he wanted to sign an unproven new athlete with a running background, I was of course a bit apprehensive. It was a gamble that I thought paid off nicely. 2015 was a new adventure for Michael Le Rossignol. It was fun seeing the newbie learn the nuances of high performance cycling. He was a surprisingly fast learner and I’m excited to see what a year under his belt will translate to in 2016.
Before 2014 really began for Nicolas Masbourian, it came to a devastating stop in the notorious pileup at the base of Tour of the Gila’s Mogollon climb. How did 2015 go for Masbou?
One of the highlights of Silber’s season last year was Mabou’s return from all his serious injuries. His attitude, team work ethic and pleasant demeanor bring positive energy to the team. A stage win in Montreal’s famous Mardis Lachine series also points to his potential that will continue to emerge next year.
Another young rider that represented Canada at espoirs worlds was Courtenay BC’s Nigel Ellsay. He too had a road to recovery. Where do you see his role in the 2016 year?
A broken collarbone in April’s Joe Martin Stage Race in Arkansas curtailed his summer but returned strong with a fine 3rd place in Canada’s toughest road race; The Tour of White Rock. I’ll be placing more responsibility on Nigel to churn out more results like this in 2016.
Like Masbou, Alex Cataford’s entire 2014 was scrapped with an early season ending crash, and then he rode his heart out in 2015. Where do you see him growing in 2016?
Alex Cataford was the third Silber rider to wear the maple leaf at last year’s espoirs World Championships in Richmond. After his 2014 wreck, Alex was solid from start to finish last year and I’m challenging him to improve his road racing abilities to compliment his already stellar talent against the clock.
Who will not be returning to the team next year?
There are two members that won’t return to Silber next year that I’d really like to thank — veteran Derrick St. John gave us tremendous team work ethic both on and off the bike while kiwi Alexander Ray gave us punch in the sprints and improved the team’s gritty mentality needed to compete at a high level. I hope to see them both at races next year.
You said you signed 3 new riders, let’s hear about them.
Next year we will add two new riders from Quebec and our first rider from Alberta. Emile Jean from Trois Rivieres is a well rounded athlete that can time trial and sprint. I’m looking forward to working with Emile after his season with the excellent amateur squad Sante Universelle. Sherbrooke’s Julien Gagne spent an injury filled year with Garneau Quebecor in 2015. His performance in Saguenay caught our eye and the talented climber should help Silber in the mountains. Lastly, Kris Dahl from Calgary brings many options to Silber’s lineup next year. The scrappy and versatile rider can do just about everything and will bring experience of 2 years under Mike Creed’s Smartstop program. I value Mike’s opinion and he’s never shy on touting Kris’ potential. Kris showed surprising speed last year and it’s in this area where Silber will greatly improve.
Overall the Silber Bullet was a dominating force in 2015. How are you going to repeat that in 2016?
I can’t talk about next year without thanking team staff and sponsors. Scott McFarlane’s passion to run this program is key and infectious. Michelle Paiement keeps the organization’s logistics ticking smoothly and lastly my back seater and wrench extraordinaire Doug Berner assures our equipment is tweaked to perfection.
We talked about returning riders, let’s talk returning sponsors. Who is coming back for a second year of Silber Bullet domination?
We are very fortunate to have the majority of our industry sponsors on board for next year. Highlighting this is Argon 18 bikes. They stepped up big to sponsor Tour de France participants Bora-Argon 18 and going into last season I was worried their attention would be placed there, but I was relieved their commitment to our team was unwavering. Other partners returning include clothing company Giordana and POC helmet and glasses. At last year’s Tour of Alberta we announced partnerships with Doc’s Skincare and Sako7 socks, and K3 will again be holding our numbers. There are other returning and exciting new companies coming on board–and we’ll be announcing them in upcoming press releases. So look for more announcements on our growing list of sponsors soon.
After three-decades of racing and directing, any tricks up your sleeve on how to have longevity in this sport?
Our path on expanding the team’s potential is set and we want to make our title sponsor Arthur Silber proud. Another season is shaping up nicely. Silber Pro Cycling is ready to build on a highly successful 2015. After over 30 years I can’t think of a season I want to get started more than this one.