December 14/06 1:42 am - Interview with Daniel Manibal
Posted by Editor on 12/14/06
Daniel Manibal Interview
Last week Daniel Manibal held a press conference to officially announce the launch of a new women's UCI stage race, and to introduce a new UCI registered women's trade team - Specialized-Menikini. Manibal is well known as the organizer of both the Montreal Women's World Cup and the Tour of Grand Montreal stage race. We spoke with him about both of these new ventures.
Canadian Cyclist - The first question has to be: Why Prince Edward Island for a stage race, when you are based in Quebec?
Daniel Manibal - It is very simple. Two years ago Michel Le Chasseur, who is the manager of the Confederation Bridge was in Montreal, was caught in traffic during our World Cup. He saw the race go by and got very excited. So we met and discussed the idea, and then Tourism PEI got involved, and that was it. Both of them saw it (the race) as a good medium to promote the island and the bridge. I am excited at the concept of a time trial back and forth on the bridge; this will be spectacular!
CC - Do you plan to keep it as a women's race, or add men in the future?
DM - For the first year it will be a women's race, and then we will see how it evolves. It takes place exactly after the Tour of Grand Montreal, which allows these quality athletes to get more high quality racing and UCI points.
CC - Now it will overlap with the Liberty Classic (Philadelphia); are you worried about losing riders to that race?
DM - We have had this problem in other years with the Tour of Grand Montreal, and we always manage. The bigger teams can split squads, and we work with them. It's good to have more women's races, so I'm not that worried.
CC - On to the team. Why move into a team when you are so involved with putting on events?
DM - The first thing in my cycling career was a women's cycling team, so it is a return. In 1998 we had the Quebec Tour-Air Transat team, which won a number of races, including stages of the women's Tour de France.
After 10 years of the World Cup we now have a new generation of riders from Quebec, led by Karol Ann Canuel. Specialized wanted to be involved in a development team, and so did PEI - we have one rider from the Island on the team (Heather Lamson).
CC - How did the team form?
DM - Specialized wanted the team to develop, and we decided 'let's give the girls a very professional environment, let's have a school to bring up the girls to the top level in the world of cycling.' We wanted to do it in a pro way without the pressure of winning at the beginning. We wanted to have them go to Europe and experience racing as well, so we just put it all together, with a combination of an established team and these developing Canadian riders.