Former Competitive Cyclist director Gord Fraser told Cyclingnews at the Tour of Alberta last week that he has signed a two-year deal to lead Silber Pro Cycling, Canada's up-and-coming UCI Continental team.
Fraser, a fearsome sprinter in his own days as a rider, retired from racing in 2006 with HealthNet. He also rode for Motorola, Mutuelle de Seine et Marne and Mercury en route to piling up more than 200 wins in his professional career.
He moved to directing in 2009 with Team Type 1 and transferred his services to UnitedHealthcare in 2010 when it was still a Continental team. In 2011, he moved to RealCyclist.com, which became Competitive Cyclist in 2012. Fraser was sidelined following that season when the team merged with 5-hour-Enery/Kenda.
Fraser worked part-time for Silber this year, taking the wheel of the team car at the Tour of the Gila, the Philadelphia Cycling Classic, Grand Prix Saguenay, Tour de Beauce and BC Superweek. He also worked with Team SmartStop last month at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. He led the Canadian National Team last week in Alberta.
Next year will be Silber Pro Cycling's second year at Continental level, and Fraser said he is looking forward to helping develop the relatively new program.
“It's kind of a project born out of Toguri Traning Systems, which is a Montreal-based coaching service,” Fraser said. “I was heavily involved with them this year on a day-rate, part-time basis, so it's nice to kind of get my hands on a new project. I'm looking forward to kind of moulding and shaping it next year going forward.”
The team is currently sponsored by Arthur Silber Investments, and team owner Scott McFarlane said the program has secured two-years of funding from Silber and other partners.
“The idea is to baby step it for the next two years,” McFarlane said of the team's potential for growth. “We want to grow the team's staff, support structure and infrastructure. Then we'll evaluate it after two years as to whether we'll go Pro Continental.”
All but one of the team's 2014 riders hailed from Quebec or Montreal, with Tour de France veteran Aurélien Passeron of France being the only exception. But Fraser said the team would likely look to expand its roster next year.
“We're not solely focused on Canadians,” Fraser said. “We'll look to fill the roster as best we can. But we're excited that we've got the core of our team coming back, and we're going to be looking for new riders and new partners, too. Pretty much all of our categories are open, so it will be fun to shape a new project for next year.
“I know all the guys and I get along really well with Scott [McFarlane] the team owner and then [mechanic] Dominic Cantin and [soigneur] Amélie Jeannea, my staff,” Fraser said. “They were fantastic this year. It's a small little team, but hopefully we will find some partners going forward and really grow the program.”
McFarlane told Cyclingnews the team would likely have more 2015 roster announcements following this weekend's WorldTour races in Montreal and Quebec.