In the fall of 2016, Andrew L’Esperance received the bad news that he was not on the Norco Factory Racing roster for the 2017 season. Norco had decided it wanted to run an entire World Cup season, and the roster was downsized to three riders to make costs work out, leaving “L’Espy” on his own after six years of team involvement.
“When we were cut, it was pretty late in the season, so we were on the back foot for trying to sort out another option,” said L’Esperance of his experience and that of fellow former Norco teammate Evan McNeely. “Our first choice would have been to race with Norco as a World Cup team, but we understand why that’s not possible. It costs a lot to support six athletes at a World Cup level compared to three.”
The 26-year-old holds an engineering degree from Dalhousie University in his hometown of Halifax,. The project management skills he learned at school are now helping the elite level racer develop his own plans for 2017.
“This program is shaping up really nicely,” said L’Esperance. “There are a lot of small details that I had overlooked being on a factory team.
“We get to pick exactly how we will look on the bike by working on our logo, and developing our own kit designs. That’s a really cool thing that I didn’t have involvement with before.”
He already has a lot of material to work with. His race resumé includes a World Cup–podium finish as a junior and qualifying for the world championships in 2016 in Nové Město, the Czech Republic, as an elite. He’s also the reigning Canada Cup champion, and is aiming for carry that momentum forward in 2017. “My ultimate goal in mountain biking is to reach the Olympic Games,” he said. “There is so much to do as I work toward that goal and I am excited for all the steps along the way.”
L’Esperance has been able to bring this new project to friends and family on the East Coast, garnering support from companies in Halifax in developing a new team for the 2017 season.
“I am very excited about this new team and especially the sponsors from the East Coast that have invested in our program. Maintaining my connection to where I grew up is important to me and I have been able to do that with this new team,” said L’Esperance.
More news on the new mountain bike team to come.