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Canadian Continental team gains sponsor, pushes for ProTour start
Canada's only professional cycling team Planet Energy has been doubly boosted by the signings of a new title sponsor in SpiderTech and a former ProTour rider Lucas Euser. The newly named SpiderTech presented by Planet Energy UCI Continental squad will continue to bid for a starting spot at the two Canadian ProTour race set to take place in Quebec City and Montreal in September.
Euser, a California native, is well known for his climbing strengths, having provided his former ProTour team Garmin-Slipstream with a series of stellar results that include a win at the Univest Grand Prix in 2008.
"We were looking for some added strength and Lucas' name came up because we realized he wasn't sign by Garmin," said team directeur sportif Steve Bauer. "We started communicating with him and he still didn't have a possibility. He thought our team was a good choice and that we would be the right fit for him. Both sides worked out well. It wasn't a risk because we can help him build back up and he liked the program and opportunity to race with us as well."
Euser was hit by a car in 2009 and sustained two broken ribs, a broken finger and a shattered patella while training in Girona, Spain last May. Riding with SpiderTech presented by Planet Energy will provide a less-demanding race schedule suited to his recovery needs. However, his vast North American and European race experience and his climbing strengths will be invaluable to the Canadian team.
"For one, we hope that by giving him the opportunity to regroup in his career it will give him the chance to develop into his best ability," Bauer said. "He won't be at his best next month, but we believe he can rehabilitate back into top form. I've seen him do some pretty good things here in North America, he is a climber and we don't have a climber on our team right now. He will add some versatility for when the road goes up and he has experience in Europe and that will add the depth of experience that we need."
SpiderTech, advanced pre-cut and packaged kinesiology tape is a young company which was launched in February of last year. The product is sold in bright hard-to-miss colors of blues and pinks. Kinseo tape has become a common way to treat or prevent injuries in the pro peloton. Bauer's long-term working relationship with the company's CEO coupled with its desire to make an impact within the cycling community led to the current sponsorship.
New signings include Euser along with Guilluame Boivin, Simon Lambert-Lemay, David Boily and Flavio De Luna. Returning riders include Tour of Missouri stage seven winner Martin Gilbert along with Mark Batty, Eric Boily, Keven Lacombe, Bruno Langlois, Francois Parisien, Andrew Randell, Ryan Roth and Charly Vives.
An eye on the ProTour
SpiderTech presented by Planet Energy has requested that the UCI grant them a start in the two Canadian ProTour race scheduled to be held in Montreal and Quebec in September. According to the UCI's ProTour rules, the ProTour teams are the only ones with priority for competing in UCI ProTour events followed by Professional Continental teams with wild-card status and the host country's national team, in this case Canada.
"We have an open invite from the organization, but it's a matter of the UCI ruling as the whether or not we can compete," Bauer said.
Discussions between race organizer Serge Arsenault and the UCI regarding the possibility of the Canadian Province of Quebec hosting two ProTour races began one year ago. The UCI granted him a five-year license almost immediately as a 'strategic event' because the locations fell in line with the UCI's recent efforts to globalize the ProTour.
"If you want to be strategic then be strategic about who you want to let in," Bauer said. "Give us the opportunity now which will help give us the opportunity to be where we want to be in the future. If you could exhibit your best sponsors, that's what this sport is all about. The business of cycling doesn't work without sponsorship, if you can bring in more sponsorship dollars, you need to give them an opportunity to play the game."
Should the squad not be permitted to compete, the riders will need to be selected by the Canadian Cycling Association in order to race under the Canadian National Team banner. SpiderTech presented by Planet Energy has offered to join the UCI biological passport program however, the UCI has not responded to that request at this time.
Early season targets for the squad include the Vuelta a Cuba, Vuelta Mexico Telmex, Redlands Bicycle Classic, Tour of Uruguay, Tour of the Gila, Joe Martin Stage Race and, pending an invitation, the Tour of California.