Team profile, March 10, 2005
A new year, new bikes, and a fresh outlook: 2004 teams Ofoto and Sierra Nevada combine forces 2005 to create a power to be reckoned with: the Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada pro race team. Cyclingnews' Ella Lawrence tagged along at the first day of their training camp in Napa, CA, to find out about the team's goals, training program, their bikes, and beer.
"Our focus this year is basically the whole NRC calendar," says Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada directeur sportif Robin Zellner. "The main races are the Threshold races in Philadelphia, Trenton, Lancaster, New York, and San Francisco. Georgia is a really important one. We are one of the very few teams that have an invitation to Georgia at this point. That's important. There is a possibility we might do the stage race in Beauce, Canada, because of Dominique's presence. We'll start at McLane and see how that goes."
Operations manager Kurt Stockton adds, "Every race that we race, we want to go there to WIN. At the Tour of Georgia, we have a lot better chance of winning a stage, or winning one of the jerseys, than we do the overall win: we have to be realistic. The Sea Otter's a big goal for us, since both Sierra Nevada and Kodak Gallery are sponsors of the Sea Otter this year. I want to go into every race to win the race. You have to be realistic that day, though, depending on who's healthy and what's going on, there's a number of factors involved with luck, weather, you never know."
Asked who of his riders are the ones to watch this year, Stockton doesn't hold back. "All of these guys, that's the exciting thing!" he says. "We don't have any dead weight at all, there's nobody who's a 'development rider' who we want to run through the ranks. I think any one of these guys could really have some breakthrough performances."
"We've got four guys from Ofoto, four guys from Sierra Nevada, and two new guys: Hayden Godfrey raced on Health Net last year, and Ian Dilley is from Snow Valley (Washington, DC). I had already signed Jackson Stewart to race for Sierra Nevada [Stewart raced for Ofoto in 2004] before the whole merger thing came through. I've pretty much known all of these guys one way or another before this year, whether it was from racing on the team, or someone I sponsored when I was working at Time."
"Ian's a climber, stage racer type. Dominique Perras too. Jackson Stewart's an all-rounder, Glen Mitchell is an all-arounder; he does everything quite well. I think Glen's going to have a good year; he's pretty motivated. He was at his race weight of Redlands at the beginning of this month, and he's already won a couple of races this year. Jackson sprints pretty well. Hayden Godfrey, he's got the track speed, he's also a sprinter. He won the opening/closing stages of the Wellington tour this year already, so he's sprinting well. [Tim] Larkin is a good stage racer and all-around tough guy. The harder the race, the better he's going to do. He climbs great but he also has no problem attacking and getting off the front in a criterium too. Russell [Hamby] has a good finishing speed and he also does well in the long races. He was tenth in Philly last year, for the win."
The racers' goals
All-round tough guy he might be, but Tim Larkin says he isn't feeling too tough yet. "This first race [McLane Pacific] will be a little bit of a shock, it always is," he says. "Lots of guys have already been racing for two months already. Half of Health Net went to Chile, and the other half was at Valley of the Sun. Navigators have been in Europe, Malaysia already... I'm really looking forward to the season. It's exciting to have the team coming together like this."
The 2003 Canadian national road race champion, Dominique Perras, has the most European experience of any Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada racer, having spent several seasons in Europe with Phonak (20000), Ficonseils (2001) and iTeamNOVA (2002-3) before returning to North America to ride for Ofoto in 2004. Perras told us about his personal goals for 2005, as well as his feelings on the new team.
"This season for the team the most important race will be the Tour of Georgia, it's a very big event," says Perras. "Really, the biggest stage race in the U.S. So for me, that would be very important. As well, I would like to renew my title this summer in July in British Columbia. That's a big pull for me as well. I'd like to represent Canada again in the world championships. We've got a very good, balanced team and I'm really looking forward to the season. I think we have a very good chance to shine in most big U.S. races."
The training program
The team's public relations manager Josh Kadis explains what the riders can expect to be served in the way of a training program this year. "Endurance is the essential coaching and physiological testing provider to Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada," says kadis,. ".All of our riders will get tested at the facility multiple times this year; Endurance is going to provide coaching to some of the riders who are based here in northern California. The main innovation of theirs in terms of training is that you really only have three metabolic states (as opposed to the widely-accepted five or six training zones): easy, tempo, and hard. They test you for the two thresholds that separate those three states and focus on training with power based on those three zones. It's a way for our guys to train more efficiently to make better use of their on-the-bike time."
It's day one of the camp and rider Scott Zwizanski explains what he and his team-mates will be doing for thhe rest of their time together. "A couple of us got here last night, this morning is the first team ride, and we're just going to be putting in the miles together and meeting some more of our sponsors this coming weekend,," he says. "They're having a whole training weekend; some people are coming to ride with us all weekend and Sunday we're having a dinner and party, there's going to be some Sierra Nevada beer there, maybe we could get our pictures on some labels on the bottles!"
However, Zwizanski and his team-mates won't be getting too stuck into their sponsor's beverage. "I had my one allotted beer for training camp last night," says Zwizanski . "It's a great sponsor to have, but not so great when you're trying to watch the weight, I guess. But you've got to unwind sometimes!"
2005 Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada Pro Team Roster
Operations manager: Kurt Stockton
Directeur sportif: Robin Zellner
Public relations: Josh Kadis
Soigneur: Carrie Nelson
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.