Canada’s Continental Symmetrics Pro Cycling Team is aiming to become North America’s number one in the new season. "Symmetrics Cycling has one of the strongest, if not the strongest set of riders riding on a trade team in Canada," said directeur sportif Jeremy Storie. "This year we have a bolstered squad, both in size and quality, and an increased sponsorship presence, so we are definitely ready to take a ‘no prisoners’ attitude at all Canadian, American, or international events," he continued, confident that the UCI America Tour is within the team's grasp - a heretofore unprecedented claim for a Canadian team.
Following last year’s strong showing at a range of US and Canadian Pro events, which include NRC (National Racing Calendar) wins, as well as a bevy of National Championship wins and medals, Symmetrics Cycling finished third on the UCI America Tour, behind American team Health Net/Maxxis, which is still going to be the team to beat. In 2006, the team based in Vancouver, BC, will not only attack its usual calendar of Canadian races - including the Tour de Beauce, where Langley’s Svein Tuft held the leader’s yellow jersey and finished second overall behind top-ranked Australian Nathan O’Neill - and American NRC races, but six international UCI races in Mexico, Brazil, Ireland and China.
After the team’s training camp in Vancouver, BC this week, Symmetrics team members will head to Tucson, Arizona for the Vuelta Sonora-Arizona from February 28-March 5. This race begins in the USA and heads to the heat of Mexico where several top American, Canadian and Mexican teams are competing. The team will then head North to Fresno, California for the Central Valley Classic, before tossing its Spanish dictionary aside for a Portuguese one to compete in two Brazilian events: the Volta de Ciclismo Internacional do Estado De Sao Paulo (March 19-26) and the Volta do Rio de Janeiro (April 4-9). A second programme is also planned for Symmetrics to be present at the other highlights of the spring campaign, including the recently reincarnated and notoriously hilly Willamette Valley Classic in Oregon (April 21-23).
Following that, the squad will head further South to the Vuelta a El Salvador from April 29-May 5. After a quick trip home to clean the laundry, Symmetrics will be sending a roster to the steep hills of Ireland for the FBD Insurance RAS from May 21-27, and another squad to the NRC Mt Hood Cycling Classic to defend the team’s win from 2005. Riders will then return home to recuperate and prepare for the core of the season, as the BC contingent of the team is set to let local riders race against the S-Train. Look for Symmetrics to show up at several BC cups and regional races in the month of May and June like the West Side Classic/BC Road Champs, the infamous Bastion Square Crit and the well-known Gary Lund road race.
June is an especially important time, with the team returning to Tour de Beauce, where "Tuft and co." hopes to up last year’s finish by one place, and take a few stage wins to boot. After last year’s performance, Symmetrics is set to return with more pressure, but more horsepower: Tuft will have his lieutenants Eric Wohlberg and Jacob Erker at his side, along with new teammates Andrew Randell and last year’s best young rider at Beauce, Brandon Crichton.
With top form from this collection of races, the team will then turn its focus to the National Road Championships which return to the East to 'la belle province' of Quebec from June 29 to July 2. Set in the first weekend of July, the team has its eyes set on all the prizes - the under-23, as well as the elite men’s and women’s road races, criteriums, and time trials.
After a brief recovery in Quebec, half the Symmetrics team will then get to skip Chinese takeout for the week of July 15-23, and get the real thing: Symmetrics will send a full squad to contest the Tour of Qinghai Lake, China, a tough and famous race with a strong presence from some of the top teams in Europe and Asia. The other half of the team will race one of the highlights of the Canadian racing season - BC Superweek. Looking for a win in both the overall and the individual races (Delta, Gastown and Whiterock), Symmetrics Cycling is hoping for redemption for last year as the annual event is one of the its big targets.
Another appearance in Eastern Canada, the Capital City Classic in Ottawa, is on the schedule after the Asian adventure, as well as races on every following week-end, concluding with the Tour of Chihuahua from October 10-15. Symmetrics is also working on one additional UCI race in the month of September.