With a top-10 at world championships, a Commonwealth Games medal and another national championship title, Norco Factory Team XC had an outstanding 2018 season.
With UCI mountain bike world championships returning to Quebec for 2019, the Canadian cross country World Cup team is looking to keep build on that success this year. The full team is returning for this year, as Smith and the Disera brothers continue to progress internationally with their long-time sponsor Norco. Building on that success, they will be joined by Sean Fincham and Andrew L’Esperance, formerly of Forward Racing.
Haley Smith leads the charge, coming off an incredible 2018 season that saw her finish 6th at world championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. The Uxbridge, Ont. rider started the year off with a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast. From there, Smith started a steady march up the World Cup standings. At home in Canada, she finished 8th at Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup. A month later, Smith had her best ever result at world championships, the biggest race of the year.
“Norco is synonymous with home,” says Smith. “We are a family – one that pushes and supports each other to the ends of the earth. I’ve evolved as a rider alongside this family, and I’m excited to see our number officially grow this year with the addition of Sean and Lespy, as well as the amalgamation of our DH and XC sides.”
Peter and Quinton Disera also continue their long-standing relationship with Norco. The brothers have been with the Canadian bike brand for several years now, and look to keep moving forward with the brands support. Peter Disera repeated as Canadian XCO national champion in Canmore, Alta this summer. He will continue to wear the maple leaf jersey into the 2019 season at home, as well as at while he works his way up the World Cup ranks with returning teammate Andrew L’Esperance.
“This is a very talented and motivated crew – it will be a blast both on and off the bike,” says the senior Disera brother. “Very excited to be with the Norco Factory Team for the 2019 season.”
Quinton Disera has also been battling it out in the World Cup trenches, taking on the massive international under-23 field. Like his brother, Quinton grew up in Bradford, Ont. He escalated his involvement when 2012 Canadian XC Nationals were held near his home at Horseshoe Valley. With the return of the Canadian event to Ontario in 2019, he’ll be combining his pursuit of international results, including a World Cup podium and, eventually, the Olympics, with domestic ambitions.
:Each and every one of us brings something unique and uplifting to the table,” the younger Disera said of his teammates. “Together we just keep raising the bar! Can’t wait to rock 2019!”
Adding to Norco Factory Team’s firepower will be Sean Fincham. Squamish’s two time under-23 national champion joins the World Cup squad for 2019 after racing with the domestic team Forward Racing. On top of defending his under-23 national title, Fincham has several top-20 finishes internationally. He’ll be racing in this third and final year in the under-23 category in 2019.
“I am stoked to be a part of the Norco Factory Team for the next two seasons,” says Fincham. “I have been riding Norco Bicycles since I was a first-year junior and it is exciting to now be part of the World Cup program.”
Re-joining the Norco Factory Team for 2019 is Andrew L’Esperance. The East Coast racer founded Forward Racing with Evan McNeely, and managed the team while racing through 2018. This year, he’ll be focusing solely on racing.
“Norco has been a huge supporter for the majority of my career and it feels great to step up to the World Cup program,” says L’Esperance. “The team is like a family and the support is world-class. The bikes we get to ride are super fast and super fun so what more could you want? Bring it on 2019.”
For 2019, Norco’s downhill returns to operating under the same umbrella as Norco Factory Team XC. Both will be managed directly by Norco from their Vancouver and Toronto offices.
Norco Factory Team will be racing a full World Cup schedule, as well as Canadian XC national championships and select North American events. Before that, though, you can look for them at the Salamina Epic stage race, where the team will escape Canada and the Polar Vortex for some much needed sun in Greece.