Garneau – Easton Cycling Returns to Build off the Success of Last Season

Photos from John Gaucher Images. All rights reserved

    After taking home a National Championship, two PRO CX UCI victories, and 20+ other wins on route to establishing themselves as Canada’s top cyclocross team just a season ago, Garneau - Easton Cycling (formerly Red Truck - Garneau p/b Easton) is returning for another year. Veterans Michael van den Ham, Craig Richey, and Natasha Elliott are all back while young gun and Paris to Ancaster winner Gunnar Holmgren will represent the squad in the Junior field. Gunnar will be racing with the goal of winning the Canadian Junior National Championships and then flying the maple leaf in Europe. He said, “I am very excited to be representing Garneau – Easton Cycling because I will have the opportunity to race across North America and Europe with the support of Canada's premier cyclocross team. I am very glad this team will support me in achieving my goals and I can't wait to get the season started!”    

    Team co-manager, Michael van den Ham explains,

“we started this team last season because we saw a real need for a top-tier cyclocross team in Canada. There are so many talented riders in our country and it’s our goal to be able to provide a platform to allow Canadian riders to compete at the top level of the sport. With even more Canadian ‘cross teams popping up this year, it’s an exciting time to be a part of the sport in this country!”

    Many of the team’s sponsors, including Garneau, Easton Cycling, Mad Alchemy, GORP, Crankbrothers, and Vittoria are returning for another year while the team has also added Mazda Canada, Bushtukah, SDG, and RaceClean as partners for the upcoming season.

    As with last season, Garneau will provide the team with the Steeple X-Carbon ‘cross Bike in addition to the team’s distinctive kit, helmets, and shoes. Garneau’s Global Marketing Manager, Eric Salalowksy, elaborates,

“After an incredible first season which included two UCI victories and the Canadian Elite Title, we are proud to be returning as a primary sponsor. By supporting a great mix of experienced and young Canadian riders from every region of the country competing in professional CX races throughout North America, we’ve shown that the guys from the North have all it takes to be the best. We are proud that they will be equipped with custom Garneau bikes, clothing and accessories that are fresh out of the DreamFactory. We’re sure they will turn heads everywhere they go.”

    Easton Cycling has also stepped up as a title sponsor and will be providing the team with wheels, cranks and cockpit, posts and bartape for the season. The team will be riding Easton’s brand new and incredibly lightweight 442gram EC90 SL crankset which the team was involved in testing late last season in Europe. With Cinch technology the team will be able to quickly swap between different chain ring sizes depending on the course and conditions. Matching EC90 SL parts will complete the build showing that Easton carbon has the durability to withstand the punishment of cross, as every member of the team finished every race they entered last season. The team bike builds with be rounded out with SDG’s top quality saddles and Crankbrothers mud shedding Candy pedals.

    The team has also continued their relationship with Canadian-made GORP clean energy bar. This year GORP has stepped up their sponsorship and is offering a coupon code (“GORPlovesCX”) for all ‘cross fans that buy their bars online. The code kicks money back to the team to help get them to races. In a similar vein, Mad Alchemy will be again offering a custom embrocation blend for Garneau - Easton that will also share profits with the team. Finally, the team is also supported by Mazda Canada this season, and will be driving to races in a Mazda CX-5 equipped with Kuat racks. The CX-5 bears the CX name for a reason, it is the ultimate cyclocross vehicle with plenty of space, all-wheel drive, and fun to drive handling combined with fuel efficient SKYACTIV technology.

    With the help of these partners, the team will kick off their season at Rochester Cyclocross on September 10 and 11 before showing their distinctive neon kits and bikes at the North American World Cups, the UCI C1 races, the National Championships, the European World Cups, and the World Championships.

    Although supporting their riders at UCI and World Cup racing is a big part of Garneau - Easton Cycling objective, the team also strives to remain attached their respective local cycling communities. Team co-manager Craig Richey explains, “the original concept for this team under the Ethical Racing Project brand was to support and grow local cycling and cyclocross communities while giving those communities a team to cheer for at the biggest races in the world. It is important that the team consists of ethical athletes and positive role models that engage and support their local communities through coaching, cyclocross clinics, and the local race scene.”

    You can follow the team all season long on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and their website as they compete both at the highest level and in their local communities this fall.

 

Twitter/Instagram: @GarneauEaston

Facebook: Garneau - Easton Cycling

Website: www.ethicalracingproject.com

Craig Richey Lands Two Podiums in Oklahoma

Craig Richey headed off to Oklahoma this past weekend for Rut's N' Guts, their first ever UCI race, and walked away with two very impressive podium places. The following race reports are written by Tanner Culbreath of Cyclocross Magazine and originally posted on their site


Photo by Rosanne Steinke 

Photo by Rosanne Steinke 

For the men, Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo Cycling Team) snagged the holeshot with a ripping effort down the start pavement. The same sand section that served as a decision-maker in the Women’s race was a chance to string the men out from their bunch sprint to the grass. Skyler Mackey (KCCX Elite Cyclocross Team) was on the front of this train straight out of the sand and into the woods through the first set of technical turns. Mackey led Durrin, Joachim Parbo (Challenge Tires), Tristan Ulh (Giant South), Yannick Eckmann (Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross Team) and Andrew Juiliano (VOLER/HRS/ROCK LOBSTER). At this point Craig Richey (Red Truck – Garneau p/b Easton Cycling) was sitting 14th or 15th. Richey had a front row start, so a possible hang-up in the sand set him back.

Durrin made his move, pressing the pace, leaving the others behind. His gap was up to about 10 seconds by lap three and he seemed to look comfortable riding the course. Unexpectedly, he went down hard through the sand and the chasers took back that lead quickly. At this point Eckmann and Mackey had closed the gap, and jumped to gap Durrin. Richey had moved from 14th or 15th all the way into fifth place.

With Eckmann driving the pace, Ulh, Mackey and Juiliano formed the chase. Richey made his move up to Eckmann with Uhl in tow. At this point the other riders started to come unhinged and the trio opened an even bigger gap.

The gap stayed consistent at 15 seconds until Eckmann bobbled in the sand, and with two-and-a-half laps to go. Ulh went hammer down and had the race winning gap. Despite their solid effort, the chasers, Eckmann and Richey were unable to make contact, and Eckmann dropped Richey in the last lap. Day one’s Elite Men’s race would finish Ulh, Eckmann, Richey.

Day 2

A strong start from Andrew Juiliano (VOLER/HRS/ROCK LOBSTER) put him firmly on the wheel Craig Richey (Red Truck – Garneau p/b Easton Cycling) from the gun. Juliano had snagged 5th Saturday, and rode like he was confident in his ability to stay at the front.

The trio worked together to build a decent little gap through the first lap, and stayed off the front for two laps before Tristan Uhl (Giant South) and Jacob Lasley (SPCX pb RK Black) would connect to begin to pursue the leaders. Uhl hung for a bit, then left Lasley to sit solo just out of podium contention for the remainder of the race.

Less than half a lap later, Uhl had bridged to the leading trio. Juliano appeared to be feeling affects of the fast start, and faded off the group.

A new trio had formed—the battle for the podium was back between Richey, Eckmann, and Uhl.

With two laps to go, attacks started to fly from the leading trio. Many attempts to make a move stick left the pace at the front wildy variable, with each of the leading trio serving as both the hammer and the nail. With half a lap left Richey held a gap, and looked like he may have been able to make it stick until the finish, but Uhl had too much left in the tank catching Richey and dropping him on the last drag up the finish.

The Men’s race would end with Uhl taking the victory, Eckmann grabbing second and Richey right back in third— the same podium as the day prior. 

Michael van den Ham Reflects on the Koksijde World Cup

The following is a piece written by Michael van den Ham from his blog on mvdhcyclocross.com. Michael is spending the rest of the season in Europe as he prepares for the World Championships in Zolder. 


Ah, Koksijde. Everyone I have talked to who has come over to Belgium has told me that Koksijde is the hardest. I suppose I always believed them, but never had any concept of what that meant. With that in mind, trying to explain the race to someone who hasn’t raced it is just about impossible, but here is my attempt.

There is sand, lots of it. When we think of sand in North America, we think of just muscling our way through a volleyball court. I don’t know how to explain the sand here other than say that if you take that volleyball court, triple it in size, add another foot of sand below, put in some elevation, and then ride this five or six times per lap, you are starting to get an idea of what Koksijde is like. And that’s before you consider the big muddy bogs in between those sand pits.

The sand is a cruel mistress. The second you start letting it get to you, it’s over. To ride it well, you need to be relaxed, powerful and confident. Once those abilities are lost, the sand eats you up. All this can make Koksijde an emotional race. One lap, you clear a sand section with ease and are on top of the world. You begin to imagine yourself as the next Sven Nys. The next instant, a seemingly pathetic crash knocks you and your dreams back to earth. Frustrated and tired, you begin to wonder why did you thought this sport was a good idea?

With all that in mind, my race actually went quite well. After a slow start, I found my rhythm sometime around the third lap. Despite all my apprehension about the race in the week prior, I was actually beginning to enjoy myself.

In a clever, or perhaps desperate, attempt to gain some more support, I had stopped atop one of the dunes during pre-ride and yelled, pleaded, “Will you cheer for me?” Maybe I looked just desperate enough, but the spectators agreed wholeheartedly to support my back-pack battles. Buoyed by their support, I moved my way past one rider and then another and then another until I was sitting around 40th place during the race. Was a 300 euro payday in the cards for me? (Note: 300 euro is the prize money for 40th; zero euro is the prize for 41st.)

Not that day. With four laps left in the race, I made a silly mistake and crashed to the mud. The crash itself wasn’t so terrible, but the timing was less than ideal. Sven Nys and Wout van Aert had been breathing down our necks for a while already and our getting pulled was imminent. A clean lap would have meant one more lap on course, a crash meant that this may be my last. I tried as hard as I could to catch the group in front of me. I drew them in closer, but not close enough. As I watched the group 20 m ahead of me roll onto the pavement to race one more lap, the race officials waved me off the course and told me my race was over. So close, but so far.

At the end of the day, after the stinging cold and equally stinging disappointment had faded, I’m satisfied with my race. As I said before, Koksijde is a unique beast and to end the day in 42nd, three laps down, is something I can be happy with and, to be completely honest, a fair bit better than I had expected I would do only a few days prior.

Red Truck - Garneau Dominates CSI

Red Truck Garneau Dominant with two wins at Cycle-Smart International

    Michael van den Ham closed out his North American Cyclocross season on a high note by taking his first ever UCI win in Northampton on November 7th. Meanwhile, Raphael Gagne also finished his year in victory as he took another impressive win on the following day. Natasha Elliott rode at the front of the race both days to land sixth place in each. 

    As has been the case so many times this season, Raphael and Michael worked together as teammates to the secure victory on both days. On day 1, they broke away from the most of the field early on with only two other riders, Mark McConnell and Anthony Clark, able to keep pace. As the race wore on, Gagne and van den Ham first left Clark and then McConnell behind as they set the stage for the Red Truck Garneau 1-2 finish. Ultimately, Van den Ham was able to distance Gagne in the final meters to seal the victory. 

    Van den Ham said, “Wow! It was my goal all season to take a UCI victory so to be able to accomplish that goal and to do so the support of a teammate feels amazing. Thanks to everyone - sponsors, friends, family, everyone - who made this happen.” 

    On the second day of racing Gagne attacked from the gun and established a gap by the end of the first lap. He said, ”after 3 minutes I was like, I'm going. I'm trying hard. Second day, you know, not everyone is as sharp so if you're willing to go hard not everyone's willing to do it.”

    The strategy worked as Raph took yet another beautiful victory to cap off his season. Meanwhile in the group behind, Michael van den Ham launched a last lap bid for second place but fell painfully short and had to settle for 5th on the day. 

    In the women’s race, Natasha Elliott continued her string of solid results by landing two 6th places. Racing against a field that contained some of the best riders in the continent, Natasha rode some of her best racing of the year to add to her extensive list of UCI top-10s. 

    As always, a huge thank you to all the sponsors who make this team possible. With 3 UCI victories, over a dozen top-10s, and over 20 local victories the team is, without a doubt, the best our country has to offer!

Link to Michael van den Ham Interview: http://dirtwire.tv/2015/11/csi-day-1-mike-van-den-ham-1st-we-joked-we-should-break-away-from-everybody-and-go-one-two/

Link to Raphael Gagne Interview: http://dirtwire.tv/2015/11/csi-day-2-raphael-gagne-1st-second-day-not-everyones-as-sharp-if-youre-willing-to-go-hard-not-everyones-willing-to-do-it/

Teamwork Wins the Day at Nationals

With thousands of eager Winnipeg fans cheering them on and thousands more watching online, Red Truck - Garneau’s Raphael Gagne stormed to victory and a new national title over Geoff Kabush this past week at the Canadian National Championships. Local favourite, Michael van den Ham finished just off the podium in fourth while Craig Richey overcame mechanical problems to finish ninth. On the women’s side of things, Natasha Elliott narrowly lost the sprint for the bronze medal to road sprinter, Leah Kirchmann. 

With three riders on Red Truck Garneau p/b Easton Cycling and three riders on Kabush’s Scott-3Rox, the Elite men’s race was destined to be a tactical matchup: A race won or lost as a result of teamwork. After Michael van den Ham and Raphael Gagne traded early attacks and dictated the pace of the race, Gagne struck out with two laps to go and established the race-winning gap. 

Two laps later and Gagne hit the pavement with time enough to celebrate his impressive victory. Just seconds behind van den Ham, clearly spent after the team effort, was distanced in a sprint for third by Aaron Schooler. Craig crossed the line 9th after he suffered an untimely mechanical on the first lap of the championship race. Craig showed true grit and won the hearts of the fans, battling back through the field from a distant last place inside the top-10. 

“Wow! I’m super happy to win my first title Canadian title in cyclocross,” Raphael said after the race. “Thanks to my teammate Michael van den Ham, it's a victory for team, we have worked well together. Thank you to Red Truck and Louis Garneau for their support of cyclocross!”

The victory, van den Ham explained, was no fluke, but a carefully crafted plan. “We sat down before the race and ran through some different scenarios of how things could play out and how we could make sure we had the jersey at the end of the day. We knew 3-Rox was going to race together so we went out fast and aggressive in order to put the pressure on them to chase, not us. Raph (Gagne) and I traded attacks in the hope that one would stick. I guess we were right!”

In the women’s race, Natasha was forced to settle for forth the second year in a row after a tight battle with multi-time road national champion, Leah Kirchmann. Natasha said, “The course was awesome and I raced as hard as I could on the given day, but was disappointed with another 4th place.” However, always the optimist, Natasha is already looking forward to next years national which will be held in her home province, Quebec.

All in all, it was a more than successful weekend for the Red Truck Garneau p/b Easton squad. With a national title and dominant performances at the National Championships and a day later at the Manitoba Gran Prix of Cyclocross (C2), the team has cemented their place at the pinnacle of Canadian cyclocross. 

Nationals Media

Velonews: http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/10/race-report/gagne-pedals-to-canadian-national-cross-championship_388252

Cyclingnews: http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/canadian-cyclo-cross-national-championships-2015/elite-men/results/

Canadian Cyclist: http://www.canadiancyclist.com/dailynews.php?id=30268&title=gagne-caps-best-ever-season-with-cyclo-cross-title

Cyclocross Magazine: http://www.cxmagazine.com/raphael-gagne-attacks-late-elite-mens-win-2015-canadian-cyclocross-national-championships

Early Season Round Up

Early Season Round-Up

It’s hard to believe it, but September’s warm temperatures have already given way to quickly turning leaves and frosty mornings. Already at the mid-point of the season Red Truck - Garneau p/b Easton Cycling has asserted themselves as the Canadian team to watch at Nationals, the biggest events in North American, and the World Championships. In doing so, we have given the quickly growing Canadian scene something that was previously missing: a team that united Canadian riders as they raced at the highest level and provided a goal for young cyclocross racers to aspire to. 

Locally Engagement, International Exposure  

There is a perception among Elite level cyclocross teams that they need to travel to UCI weekends on all corners of the continent every single weekend in order to compete with the best. With Craig Richey, Michael van den Ham, Raphaël Gagné, and Natasha all taking numerous wins locally and also finding success at UCI races, they have been able to both develop their own skills as some of North America’s top racers and, at the same time, remain engaged in their home cycling communities. No matter where is Canada we race, we are the home-team; no matter where we race, we are Canada’s team.

This success locally has also translated into international results. Buoyed by the incredible support from our Canadian fans, the team has gone toe to toe with the best racers in the world in China, the Las Vegas World Cup, New England, and elsewhere and come out with numerous impressive results.

The biggest event of the year is just around the corner; the National Championships in Winnipeg. Look for multiple Red Truck Garneau p/b Easton riders on the podium this weekend and, if all goes to plan, perhaps you’ll even see them on the top step of the podium! You can watch the races live right here: http://winnipegcx2015.ca/live-stream/

Strong Sponsorship Returns

We have been lucky enough to land some of the best sponsors in the business this year and we know that results are only one small reason why these sponsors have chosen to work with our team. Since day one, one of our primary goals has been to generate strong returns for our sponsors. We’ve focussed on achieving this goal through signing engaging and approachable riders, creating a consistent social media presence, working with the cycling media, and helping our partner companies generate content to highlight their product. 

Although the season is not even half over, the team has already been generating significant buzz from some the the biggest cycling news sources. Linked below are a couple of the most recent examples of this in the media. 

Raphaël Gagné interview in Velonews: 

http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/10/news/Raphaël-gagne-takes-on-cyclocross-after-standout-mtb-season_387725

Craig Richey interview in Pedal Magazine: 

http://pedalmag.com/interview-with-craig-richey-about-the-new-red-truck-garneau-cx-team/

Michael van den Ham interview in Canadian Cycling Magazine: 

http://cyclingmagazine.ca/sections/news/michael-van-den-ham-comes-to-winnipeg-with-confidence/

 

Next Season

Although this season seems to have barely begun, we are already looking to move forward and grow the team next year. As we search for more partners next season, we are continually looking for news ways to make sponsoring our team a mutually beneficial relationship. 

 

Notable Results - Eastern Canada

1st - Serie de Cyclocross Maglia Rosa 1 (Natasha Elliott) 

1st - Serie de Cyclocross Magila Rosa 6 (Natasha Elliott) 

1st - Q-Cup Baie-Saint-Paul (Raphaël Gagné) 

Notable Results - West Coast

1st - Adler Acres CX (Craig Richey) 

1st - Foreshore CX (Craig Richey) 

1st - Whistler Cyclocross Day 1 and 2 (Craig Richey) 

1st - Vanier Park CX (Craig Richey) 

1st - Mahon Park (Craig Richey) 

Notable Results - Alberta

1st - Bici Rodeo 'Cross (Michael van den Ham) 

1st - Red Bike RedCross (Michael van den Ham) 

1st - Pumphouse 'Cross (Michael van den Ham) 

1st - Velocicross (Michael van den Ham) 

Las Vegas World Cup Results

34th (Natasha Elliott)

42nd (Craig Richey)

60th (Michael van den Ham)

UCI Race Results

7th - Qiansen Trophy Station 1 (Craig Richey) 

8th - Providence Cyclocross Festival Day 1 (Raphaël Gagné) 

8th - Trek CXC Cup Day 2 (Craig Richey) 

9th - Providence Cyclocross Festival Day 1 (Michael van den Ham) 

10th - Grand Prix of Gloucester Day 1 (Raphaël Gagné) 

11th - Gran Prix of Gloucester Day 2 (Natasha Elliott) 

14th - Qiansen Trophy Station 2 (Craig Richey) 

14th - Gran Prix of Gloucester Day 2 (Raphaël Gagné) 

15th - Trek CXC Cup Day 1 (Craig Richey) 

15th - Providence Cyclocross Festival Day 2 (Raphaël Gagné) 

16th - Providence Cyclocross Festival Day 2 (Michael van den Ham) 

Red Truck Garneau Press Release

Red Truck – Garneau p/b Easton Cyclocross Team becomes Canada’s most high-caliber cyclocross team and one of the top teams in North America. By uniting riders from many different cycling communities, Red Truck – Garneau p/b Easton Cyclocross Team hopes to give young cross riders a team to aspire to and Canadian cyclocross fans a team to cheer for at the biggest races in the world. The team will race a mix of international UCI races including Canadian Nationals and the CrossVegas World Cup as well as local races to enhance the level of competition and support the growth of cyclocross in Canada.

Red Truck – Garneau p/b Easton Cycling team roster: - Michael van den Ham – #2 Ranked rider in Canada, Current Alberta Provincial Champion (Elite Men) – Alberta - Craig Richey – Former #1 Ranked rider in Canada, Current BC Provincial Champion (Elite Men) – British Columbia - Raphael Gagne – 4 UCI CX Wins, Current Canadian XC National Champion (Elite Men) – Quebec - Natasha Elliot – Former #1 Ranked rider in Canada, 14 UCI Wins (Elite Women) – Ontario

Red Truck continues on as the title sponsor for 2016 with the core sponsor group that has allowed the Trek – Red Truck road team to have such a successful 2015 season. Garneau has been the clothing sponsor for the TRT road team the past three years and has stepped up to support this cyclocross team as the co-title sponsor. The team will be racing on custom painted DreamFactory Steeple-XC bikes, as well as wearing Garneau clothing and helmets. Easton Cycling also expands on their support of the TRT road program with increased support for the new cyclocross team which coincides with a larger focus by Easton on the Canadian market. The team will be racing on EC90 SL Disc tubular wheels and new Easton MCD road bars. Additional CX team sponsors include Vittoria Tires, Gorp Bars, Rumble, Crankbros and Mad Alchemy.

“It’s exciting to be working with athletes of this caliber. Our company has a passion for racing that extends well beyond the normal road season,” says Louis Garneau, president and Founder of Louis Garneau. “The support of the North American cyclocross racing scene will help highlight both our cross bikes as well as the custom apparel we have available for this segment of riders.”

Learn more about the team and follow their progress this season at: Instagram: @RedTruckGarneau - Twitter: @RedTruckGarneau - Facebook: Red Truck Garneau p/b Easton Cycling