Bissell Development Team riders Clement Chévrier and Ryan Eastman will ride as trainees for Trek Factory Racing this week at the Tour of Utah, which starts Monday in Cedar City. The team will also field Alex Kirsch from the Leopard Development team as a trainee in the race.
Eastman, 22, said he got the call up just two weeks ago, as he was preparing to leave for a grand fondo run, from Bissell team owner Axel Merckx. Chévrier, also 22, said the call up from Trek caught him off guard.
"I was surprised, but it's a good surprise," Chévrier said. "I feel lucky to be a stagiaire with Trek. So I will take the opportunity to show my potential or to help the team, and maybe open the door for the next year, for sure."
Eastman, from the US, has ridden for Merckx's development teams since 2011, while Chévrier, of France, is riding his first year with Bissell.
Trek team director Alain Gallopin said the arrangement benefits both the riders and the WorldTour team.
"I think it's a good opportunity for the young guys to show their value and get experience in a pro team," he said. "And also with [Trek] every year we take two stagiaires to race Utah because we don't have enough riders in the end. It's the same time as Poland and San Sebastian, and it's just after the Tour.
"It's complicated, so instead of starting with six riders it is better to start with eight and give some opportunities, especially to guys who are on a Trek-sponsored Continental team."
Chévrier and Eastman met with their new teammates Saturday in Cedar City for a brief training ride and a dinner before the team presentation Saturday evening. Eastman said he hasn't yet discussed with management what his role within the team will be, but he assumed he will be riding support for leaders like Jens Voigt and Riccardo Zoidl.
"They're strong, so I'll go for them and do everything for them," Eastman said. "That's a job I'm used to in the past with guys like Lawson [Craddock], [Joe] Dombrowski and [Ian] Boswell. It's second nature for me, so I'm excited to do it."
Chévrier said he is also excited about the opportunity to work with and for riders like Voigt and possibly Fränk Schleck at the upcoming USA Pro Challenge in Colorado.
"It is very exciting," he said. "I have Jens on my wall in my room, so it's amazing to be next to him, for sure, and in Colorado if we have Fränk Schleck for example. So I'm very proud to ride for these guys.
"I try to stay focused on the race because it is not easy for me. Alain Gallopin is for me a big director, and in France he is very famous. So I'm lucky to be with him. I will try to enjoy and stay focused."
The eight-rider squad for Trek will also need to focus on the race, as many of the riders are either preparing for Colorado or returning from the Tour de France. Gallopin said expectations for the team at Utah are not exceptionally high.
"We have some guys who are here to prepare for Colorado," Gallopin said. "And after the Tour we don't know how they are recovering. In the past this race was two weeks after the Tour, and this year it is only one week after the Tour. The fitness is really good or really bad, but it's an opportunity to take the stagiaires to a race, and then we will see."
Trek Factory Racing for Tour of Utah: Matthew Busche, Hayden Roulston, Jens Voigt, Calvin Watson, Riccardo Zoidl, Clement Chevrier, Ryan Eastman, Alex Kirsch
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake before studying English and journalism at the University of Oregon. He has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon.
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