Silber Pro Cycling is returning to the North American Continental peloton next season with the core group of riders intact and the addition of three newcomers to form an 11-man roster.
"It's not a heavy tweak, per se, but we liked the way most of our guys were growing last year,” Silber director Grod Fraser told Cyclingnews this week.
“I think that's the real theme of next year is to continue that growth," he said. "A lot of them hadn't even raced in the states, so now they've got a year of familiarity with the races and the competition. A lot of them hadn't had a full season racing under their belts, so we're excited about potential growth of them as athletes and of course Silber as a team.”
Aside from Ryan Roth, the 32-year-old leader of the team, the remainder of the young roster is under 25, with the majority of the riders just 21 years old. The average age falls in line with the team's development mission, and Roth is on board to provide both results and mentorship.
“It's awesome to have him on the team, not only because he generates impressive results for him and the team, but he's just such a good role model for the guys,” Fraser said. “He's a very professional rider, and there's not a lot of wasted words or wasted energy with that guy. He leads by example, and we're very, very fortunate to have him on our team. He sets a good tone for the team, and I foresee him doing that even more next year.”
Roth brought in multiple wins last year, including a solo victory at the Gastown Grand Prix. Other returning riders include Alex Cataford, Matteo Dal-Cin, Elliott Doyle, Nigel Elsay, Michael le Rossignol, Nicholas Masbourian and Ben Perry, who won the final stage at the Tour de Beauce in June and took the KOM jersey at the Tour of Alberta in September.
The team has added three new riders, including Kristofer Dahl, who comes aboard after two years with SmartStop, Julien Gange and Emile Jean. While Gagne is a climber, Dahl and Jean should add more firepower for the fast finishes. Fraser said SmartStop had a difficult roster to break through for Dahl, and he's hoping to provide the 23-year-old Albertan with more opportunities this year.
“We needed to bolster our speed department, so with [Dahl] and Emile Jean, who is a young guy from Trois-Rivieres, he's actually quite fast as well,” Fraser said. “He's demonstrated that at some of the more provincial races in Quebec, and that's a guy who might surprise people maybe on a more national and North American level. So we're definitely excited to bring two elements of speed into the team to go along with Elliott Doyle, who had just a terrible year last year.”
Doyle's 2015 season was plagued with illness and injury, Fraser said, so he's looking forward to seeing what the rider can do over the course of a full season.
“I think it's part of the team that we didn't really showcase a whole lot,” Fraser said of Silber's ability to contest sprint finishes. “Ryan Roth stood up and did his part where he could, so we weren't anonymous, but we'd certainly like to play a little heavier role in some of the sprint finishes next year.”
Riders not returning for 2016 include Alexander Ray of New Zealand and Canadian Derrick St-John.
Silber will race a similar program to 2015, Fraser said, including a steady diet of US national-level events and major Canadian races.
“The big change for us is just making our desire and intentions known with some of the big races in the States and trying to get into the big three: California, Utah and the USA Pro Challenge,” he said. “We've done really well at the ATB race in Alberta. Last year we on the KOM jersey and we were in the break everyday, except for the day with the mountain top finish, and we actually needed to take a day off from that. So it was perfect.”
Although the team's 2016 schedule has not been finalised, Fraser said Silber will likely start its season with the usual openers at San Dimas and Redlands.
“Last year was just awesome,” he said. “We did really well. Some people would think we over achieved, but to be honest I think it was right on par with the talent we have, so I'm definitely excited that these guys have a solid year of racing under their belts. They're at an age where they need a bit of accumulation to keep taking steps forward. To have that year under their belts I think will really pay off in 2016.”
Silber Pro Cycling 2016 roster: Alex Cataford, Kristofer Dahl, Matteo Dal-Cin, Elliott Doyle, Nigel Ellsay, Julien Gagne, Emile Jean, Michael le Rossignol, Nicolas Masburian, Ryan Roth, Benjamin Perry.