By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Team Type 1 announced Monday that former professional Gord Fraser will be joining the management staff of the team as assistant director sportif with current assistant Vassili Davidenko. Davidenko has been promoted to director sportif to replace Ed Beamon who will not be returning for 2009.
"We were very fortunate to have someone with Ed's experience to help guide us down the path of success in our first year," general manager Tom Schuler said in a statement. "With Vassili and Gord, we have two former pros who can also relate well to the challenges a rider faces on and off the bike."
No details as to why Beamon would not be returning were given, and Beamon was not reachable for comment.
While Davidenko has been working as an assistant director since he retired from the Navigators team (where Beamon was his director) Fraser has been away from cycling for a couple of years since retiring from the Health Net squad. But this year Fraser was seen 'guest directing' at the Tour of Missouri, with many thinking that he would be joining that team as a new DS. But Fraser told Cyclingnews that it was not in the budget. Still it showed him that directing was something he could see in his future.
"It was in a very professional setting it was really nice to get that opportunity. It was an eye to helping in 2009 but it did answer my question as to if I enjoyed it as a profession. It was a hard decision, leaving my alma mater, but they just didn't have the budget to take on a second director. But I had been talking with Tom [Schuler] for a few months and the offer came out of the blue, but I decided to run with it."
The pairing of Fraser and Davidenko is interesting as the two formally knew each other for years as sprinting rivals in the US peloton. "Yeah, we had a lot of good battles, that is for sure. But we always had a good mutual respect for each other. You can't always say that about the sprinters! We never had any arguments... we might have closed the door on each other a couple of times, but on the director side of things I don't see why we can't keep that mutual respect going."
Fraser thinks that his years on the bike will be a strong asset for the team. "Being a racer and not too long ago I think I will relate well to the riders, and draw upon those experiences to make good decisions."
As for what kind of car he will get to drive, he said it does not matter. "I'll drive whatever they give me because this is such a good opportunity!"