The night before the Grand Prix Cyclistes de Montréal at a joint Cycling Canada and Silber Pro Cycling event, Scott McFarlane the principal owner of the Montreal-based team announced that three of his top riders would be moving on in 2017. Thanking them in the considerable roll they played in the teams success over the past season, the announcement was obvioulsy bittersweet knowing they are moving on because they have successfully developed into riders who are capable of top performances in North America and abroad.
Six riders who have developed under McFarlane and director sportif Gord Fraser’s wing were selected for the national team for the two biggest races on Canadian soil. In Quebec City, Nicolas Masbourian spent the day in the breakaway fighting for points in the mountains classification while in Montreal, Ben Perry was able to secure victory in the king of the mountains classification with the help of Matteo Dal-Cin. McFarlane thanked Perry, 22, Dal-Cin, 25, and Alex Cataford, 23, who finished fifth overall at the 2016 Tour of Alberta will not be returning to Silber in 2017 moving on to yet to be announced teams.
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Silber’s 2016 campaign has been remarkable and shown the considerable role the team has played in developing Canadian talent. In 2017 the team will continue with a goal McFarlane says is quite simple, “we want to get our athletes to the next level and we want to grow the sport.” With that goal in mind Cataford, Dal-Cin and Perry have found opportunities to take the next step in their careers after years of development with Silber and McFarlane thanked them for joining the team bringing success on the road and much more.
Perry is a native of St. Catharines, Ont., and his win in the KOM competition in Montreal is a confirmation of his status as one of Canada’s top male riders not currently at the pro-continental or WorldTour level. He has won the national under-23 road race title three years in a row, is two-time elite criterium national champion, won the KOM competition at the 2015 Tour of Alberta, has taken wins at the Tour de Beauce (2015) and Grand Prix Cyclistes de Saguenay and is the second ranked U23 rider in the UCI America Tour standings in 2016. His role at Silber though has gone beyond his performance on the bike. “Ben has had a massive behind-the-scenes input on the team that not a lot of people realize,” said McFarlane.
Matteo Dal-Cin is from Ottawa and was recruited onto Silber along with veteran Ryan Roth mid-season in 2014 and developed into a successful stage racer and a powerful time trialist. Dal-Cin won the 2016 Redlands Cycling Classic becoming the first Canadian to do so in the race’s 32-year history. He also won the Grand Prix Cyclistes de Saguenay in 2015. McFarlane said, “Matteo has been fundamental in the growth of our team in helping to attract the best riders to the program.”
Cataford, 23, joined Silber in 2015 after suffering a devastating injury that saw him miss much of 2014. The Ottawa native was U23 Canadian time trial champion in 2015 and finished second to teammate Roth in 2016. His biggest result of the season came at the 2016 Tour of the Gila where he finished second overall. He also was the top Canadian at the Tour of Alberta finishing fifth overall in the GC. McFarlane said, “Alex Cataford is a huge talent on the bike and he took the chance to join our team. Gord organized his arrival and he probably had other options. A healthy Alex Cataford can boost an entire program.”
Apart from the success of the three riders who will be moving on in 2017, Nigel Ellsay, 22, finished second place overall at the Joe Martin Stage Race and Kris Dahl, 24, won the first stage of the Tour of Utah. Roth, 33, had one of the most successful seasons of his career after returning from injury taking wins at the Grand Prix Cyclistes de Saguenay, Tour de Delta, Winston-Salem Cycling Classic and the 2016 national time trial title.
For the next two seasons, Silber will focus on continuing to build a pathway for young Canadian riders to develop but the end goal is secure the sponsorship to move up to pro-continental level.