The Rocky Mountain Bicycles race team signed a new title sponsor for 2007. Haywood Securities, a sponsor since 2001, is also a supporter of the Canadian National Cross Country Ski team, and has stepped up its commitment this year. The new sponsor is a Vancouver-based securities company with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and London, England.
The 2007 team welcomes a new member--another Canadian Olympian; Seamus McGrath of British Columbia will join existing Olympic and multiple World Championship medal winners and team members Marie-Hélène Prémont Max Plaxton, Alison Sydor, and Carsten Bresser.
With 15 years in the sport, McGrath's career highlights include his ninth place finish at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, a silver and bronze medal at the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games, and winning the overall US National Championship short track title in 2002. McGrath also has a number of top 10 World Cup and World Championship finishes in his resume.
"I will focus on racing very competitively on the World Cup circuit and in North America to help Canada build ranking points towards the 2008 Olympics," said McGrath, who adds to the men's pro roster of two-time German Olympian Carsten Bresser and 2006 World Championship bronze medal winner Max Plaxton. McGrath and Bresser will also partner to compete in some of the World's biggest epic stage races in 2007.
Plaxton, 2006 Espoir Bronze medal winner at the World Championships, finished his 2006 season with a victory in the Pan American Championships in October. In 2007, Plaxton will focus on the World Cup Espoir (Under 23) title and on earning points for the 2008 Olympic team selection.
Another Olympic hopeful, Prémont is one of the fastest women on the cross-country mountain bike circuit. Her 2006 achievements included two World Cup victories, a bronze medal at the cross country World Championships, podium finishes at every World Cup race, and her fourth consecutive Canadian National title. Prémont will focus on the World Cup circuit and World Championships in 2007
Three-time world champion and Olympic silver medal winner Alison Sydor continues with the team. Sydor has won an amazing 13 World Championship medals. In 2007, she will race high profile Marathon events and continue to help Canada score points in the Olympic quest.
2007 is the final qualifying race year to earn starting positions for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. With many national team members on its squad, Rocky Mountain will support the Canadian National Team in the quest to maximize Canada's chances for starting positions at those Games.
Looking further ahead, perhaps to the next Olympics in 2012, the team has re-signed young riders Raphael Gagné, Marty Lazarski, Jean Ann McKirdy, and Matt Hadley. 2005 Junior National Champion Gagné finished third overall in the Canadian National Series as a first year espoir racing in the senior category. McKirdy took the 2005 and 2006 U23 women's national championship while Hadley and Lazarski both are coming off solid 2006 seasons.
After a season debut at the Sea Otter Classic April 12-15 in Monterey, California, Prémont, Plaxton, McGrath, and Sydor will go to Europe for World Cup races in Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. McGrath and Bresser will contest the prestigious Trans Alp Challenge victory in July, and Prémont will strive for a third consecutive victory at the World Cup in Mont Sainte-Anne, Québecon June 25. The team looks toward the World Championships in Fort William, Scotland, with a goal of bettering its 2006 performance of winning three medals at the Worlds in New Zealand.