Posted by Editoress on 09/25/07
Steve Bauer Talks About Team R.A.C.E And State Of Canadian Cycling
By Matt Hansen
I recently sat down with Steve Bauer and spoke to him about his involvement with the Ontario-based Team R.A.C.E. Here's what the legendary Canadian cyclist had to say about the squad's season for 2007, and what's in store for 2008.
MH: How was R.A.C.E.'s year for 07?
SB: It was good. There was a lot of progress. Josee Larocque and I got involved with the team and it's been very positive. We started off by helping the boys down in Battenkill, NY and then the Tour of Virginia. Other key events we worked were Tour de Beauce and the Nationals. Gears and Mike Moore were still involved, but we were doing our best to help them out even more.
MH: So where do things stand with RACE? What do you think of the team as a whole?
SB: I think there is definitely talent, it's a really solid group of guys with ambition. We did our best to help them out and we had some good results this year. Josee and my vision was to take a look at this and decide if we, and the backers want to grow the team. At the end of 2006 there was some frustration that we lost a talented rider like Ryan Roth, that moved on to greener pastures. So this year was another rebuilding year.
MH: So what's next for team RACE?
SB: The only way to go forward is to get more investment and go to the next level. It costs more money and takes resources. It takes a focused professional effort. So, we presented a longer term vision, with a budget, and Paul Devries, CEO of Planet energy, and Newton Glassman of Catalyst Capital approved a plan for the next two years. So that's where we are at. We've formed a management company to make it legitimate to do it in a professional manner. We are negotiating with riders as we speak-trying to get riders to improve and bring strength in the roster.
MH: Obviously you can't say just who right now, but where are you looking?
SB: There's a lot of younger talent but they are not all Canadians. We want to build with principally Canadian strength; with the overall goal to improve power of the team. Our vision is not the same as Symmetrics---100 percent Canadian. Symmetrics has done a great job at that, recruited almost all of the best Canadian riders over several years and they are now very competitive. Next year we are going to register Team RACE UCI continental and that should grow things even further.
MH: So what will be different in 2007? What new races, what's the focus?
SB: We might have a go at a brief Euro campaign, which would be good for the boys, but principally we will be racing the highest level of races where we are accepted in North America. It's a 5 year plan, we don't have a financial commitment for 5 years, but we have a plan that is evolving as we work with partners. Basically, we have enough financial commitment to launch the team forward and over the next two years build this program with a strong future potential
MH: What's your role? What benefits, apart from your own experience, is having Steve Bauer's name? It must certainly help with credibility.
SB: I do think it's a plus, because I'm getting involved, people know me to be credible. For this project, they know I'm serious. I've always been a pretty humble guy in terms of using a name. But I'm focused, so when I'm stepping forward and I'll do it my best. When I tell people that I'm hands on, they know we are serious about what we are doing. I will be manager/ director with Josee as co-manager. Michael Moore will mentor us forward and is a good communicator keeping a supporting role within the team. Josee has worked in the industry, operated bike demos; managed the Expodium bike show in Montréal, she's totally capable in the bike game. She has lots of contacts that I don't even have. We are a good team.
MH: What did you think of Canadian racing this year?
SB: I was impressed at the level of racing. I was impressed at Beauce and the Nationals. I liked the races and how Canadians were riding. There's more depth domestically than when I was racing, there's more opportunity with teams, there's more possibility to get in a squad. It's much deeper and there's more opportunities now than back in the 90s, even during the Evian/Magicuts and Canadian Tire days. The North American circuit is very strong and there are more of Canadian teams with budgets and good opportunities. That being said, more needs to be done.
Stay tuned for more from Canada's most accomplished cyclist next week as he talks more...
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