- Article published:
- August 18, 2006, 00:00
- Cycling News
This Sunday's USPRO Criterium Championship race in Downer's Grove, IL, will be the final career NRC...
This Sunday's USPRO Criterium Championship race in Downer's Grove, IL, will be the final career NRC race for Gord Fraser of the Health Net Pro Cycling Team presented by Maxxis. The Canadian sprinter, who has ridden for the team since 2003, has been a fixture on the North American racing scene for much of his 13 years as a professional, winning the NRC individual points title twice. He also found success in Europe in the Mercury program, winning stages of Criterium International, the Tour of Asturias and GP Rennes.
His list of career accomplishments includes:
More than 200 career wins
Three-time Canadian Olympian
2004 Canadian national road champion
Five-time Commonwealth Games participant
Two-time NRC individual champion
He comes into this weekend as a former winner of the USPRO Criterium Championship, as well as the Downer's Grove Pro Am which precedes it. "I've had good success at these races in the past, and having such a prestigious and important race as the USPRO Criterium Championship as my last NRC race is only fitting," said Fraser in a team statement, who is currently ranked 8th in the individual NRC rankings.
"I've had a good run with my career," he continued. "If you told me after I came back from Europe, I'd have nine really good years with some incredible teams, incredible team-mates and sponsors, I'd have taken it. I don't have too many regrets."
And after more than 200 wins in his career, he still says "You never get tired of winning. Sometimes even if it's just a small local race, if you give everything you can to win, it can be just as satisfying as winning a big race."
While he'd like to close out his NRC career with one more big victory this weekend, it isn't so much his wins that he'd like to be remembered for, but the way he earned them. "If I was to be remembered for anything, it was that I could be depended upon to get a lot of results for the team," he said.
"If you were a teammate, it was that you always had 100 percent confidence that I could do my job. That would be a proud legacy for any of my ex-team-mates. If they were happy to work for me, that's as much as I can ask. For the fans, just the fact that I've done the best I could, always given 100 percent, whether it's with the responsibility of winning or helping a team-mate. I've always given every race 100 percent of my ability."
As far as what's next, Fraser says he's "still working on things. If I can stay within the cycling family, then I certainly will. Camps will definitely be something I'll do in the future. But I still have a few races to go, and I'd like to end the season on a high note with some success at Downer's Grove this weekend. After that, the job search will begin."
Fraser will be a big part of a strong, 10-man Health Net Presented by Maxxis squad for the USPRO Criterium Championship and Downer's Grove Pro Am. He will be joined by former New Zealand Criterium and track world champion Greg Henderson, 2000 USPRO Criterium Champion Kirk O'Bee and 2005 U-23 National Criterium Champion Kyle Gritters, who will be looking to achieve what former Health Net Presented by Maxxis rider Tyler Farrar achieved in 2004 and 2005, going from U-23 national criterium champion to USPRO Criterium Champion in consecutive years.
Riders for Downer's Grove: Gord Fraser, Kyle Gritters, Greg Henderson, Tim Johnson, Mike Jones, Karl Menzies, Kirk O'Bee, Garrett Peltonen, Mike Sayers, Alberto Tiberio