Posted by Editoress on 07/27/06
Caylon-Litespeed: Quebec's New Kid on the Block
By Amanda Leigh Cox
Caylon-Litespeed is the newest Canadian Pro Team to join the Continental road racing circuit. Founded in Montréal, Quebec in Spring 2006, the riders are: Erik Lyman (Captain), Charly Vivès, Maxime Vivès, Joel Dion-Poitras, Jean-Sebastien Perron, Carl Derochers, and Brooke Boocock. Heading up the management of the promising young team is Bernard Vivès (President), Gérrard Pennaroya (Vice President). Erik Lyman, Capitaine de Route of Caylon-Litespeed took time out from recovering after Stage Two of the Tour de Toona (Altoona; July 24-30th) to speak with Canadian Cyclist about the fledgling team's adventures thus far in the 2006 season.
CC: What does Caylon-Litespeed represent for you and your teammates?
EL: Well, it represents a lot of things; it's an opportunity to race at an elite level in North America, which considering the young ages of the guys in the team is a cornerstone in their development. Racing Pro in the USA also allows them to make contacts for the future, and to have access to races they would otherwise not be able to compete in, and gives them the chance to live the life of a pro cyclist It's one thing to compete in Quebec, but there is a whole other world out there; a lot of people only see regional races or the Tour de France; but there is an in-between. For me it's been a personal project; I'm 33 so I have a different perspective on where I'm at in my cycling career. It's great motivation to race with these younger guys. Cycling has given me so much, I feel that I can really help them along their way.
CC: How do you organize and have a group of riders perform as a team when each of those riders clearly wants and to a degree needs to make a name for themselves ?
EL: (laughter) Well, it's a challenge at times, but in my role as Capitaine de Route I try to have them understand that everyone has their strengths. Cycling is undeniably a team sport - it's difficult to achieve things individually. I emphasize their strengths and build on each of these strengths. I want to encourage team spirit and support on the team; if one guy is down at the end of race, go talk to him, give him a hand, because you never know, maybe the next time that will be you. Going to Arkansas (for the Joe Martin Stage Race and the Tri-Peaks Challenge) we all drove down in the car from Montreal, which was crazy, but as a way to get to know each other it worked. It took two and a half days; before we left I was thinking Ã…â€™Well, we'll either become friends or kill each other' but happily it did a lot to increase our team spirit. Last night (at Stage 2 of the Tour de Toona) Maxime Vivès came in 13th - that is an impressive result for a first year Pro team, so we have all achieved something together.
CC: Has there been positive feedback for the team in the USA?
EL: The reception has been very good. We've been on the road with a lot of American teams, meeting people. A lot of teams started out just the way we are, so they respect and understand where we're coming from. I would even say that the reception in the USA has been better than in Quebec in some ways; it's easy to judge people until you know where they've been , the sacrifices they've made and what they've been doing. For example, teams like Jelly Belly started out small so they understand Ã‹â€ you have to start somewhere! People have been great with us really.
CC: What has been the greatest challenge for the Team to date?
EL: The biggest challenge was putting the whole thing together, which we did in roughly 6 months; an incredible turnaround. It's not easy creating an elite team, let alone a pro team, but we all worked incredibly hard and knew we wanted to get the team going; everyone was willing. Mid-way through the process we were still wondering if we were going to be elite or pro; if the project was going to make it, but we all kept the faith and as a result we've created something impressive; we all believed in it and worked on it until it worked.
CC: What has been Caylon-Litespeed's greatest success to date?
EL: I think our biggest success is our racing schedule. We started in mid-May in Arkansas, (Joe Martin Stage Race followed by the Tri-Peaks Challenge) then we did the CSC Criterium, then the Triple Crown; we've been racing a lot. Being able to do those races is really rare for an Eastern Canadian team, but also very important to get the guys ready in terms of their muscles, endurance, seeing the strategies that teams use, etc. As a first year pro team results aren't really the issue for us, it is more about getting to the races, creating a synergy and working together.
CC: How has racing changed since you were last pro?
EL: Racing in the USA has definitely become bigger. Races are more organized and the infrastructure is better. In terms of the level of competition, consider that the last 8 Tour de France have been won by Americans ; that gives you an idea of the level of racing in the USA. In terms of strategies and the racing in and of themselves, everything is more controlled - before there was one big team who essentially won, now there are 2 -3 big teams, then 10 other really good teams, then 10 other solid teams, then a host of regional teams.
North American continental cycling has nothing to be ashamed of; continental racing in Europe is on the same level as in North America; just look at the all the Australians and New Zealanders and Europeans who are racing in American races. It's not the Pro Tour, sure, but in terms of continental racing it's very developed, organized and the competition is quite high. From when I was first Pro racing the USA it's come a long, long way and now honestly it's a lot of fun.
CC: What does the 2007 season look like?
EL: It's a little too early to say at this point, but we're thinking more riders potentially. Other than that I imagine it will be the same races but in a more balanced fashion. Ideally we'd like to be traveling less so we can focus on racing. We'd also like to start earlier in the season; this year we started mid-April; next year I think it will be more like mid-march. But we're focusing on one thing at a time, first we've got to finish up this season.
CC: What's on tap for the rest of the 2006 season?
EL: Well, we're at the Tour de Toona, then we'll head home to the do the Classique Montreal-Quebec (Montreal; August 13th) after that the Quebec Championships (Beauce; August 26-27th) and Green Mountain Stage Race (Vermont; September 1-4th) and then the Tour of Connecticut (Mass.; Sept. 16-17th). The Tour of Connecticut will probably be the last race of the season for us. This year it's in the third week of September so it should be a really solid race for us.
CC: Briefly describe the team members:
EL: Maxime Vives: the Philosopher and the thinker Ã‹â€ he's a strategist
Charly Vives: the sprinter; the guy who won't go down without a fight
Brooke Boocock: the time trialist. Put him on a chrono bike and watch him go
Joel Dion-Poitras: the slugger Ã‹â€ he's got a fantastic engine
Jean-Sebastien Perron: the clown, but he's deadly serious on his bike
Carl Desrochers: a solid all-round rider
Erik Lyman (Team Captain): stoic and demanding but I love my sport and if I'm hard on the guys it because I really sincerely want them to succeed.
ONE USELESS QUESTION:
The Team's favourite Gatorade flavour?
Iceberg. It's the light blue one. At the beginning of the season we kind of had to hide it so we wouldn't drink it all, but now we're under control.
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