There’s a new team making waves in Canada, and it is poised to do so for many years to come. The Stimulus/Orbea was launched by Rob and Lisa Holmgren and Marc Ackert and is hitting up races on both the road, and dirt. The team is a multi-discipline squad that focuses on XC, cyclocross, and road. There are five riders on the team: Ava and Isabella Holmgren, Ian Ackert, Roxanne Vermette and Marin Lowe.
The team has a long-term plan and hopes to continue to support its riders as they climb the ranks.
The formation had been in the works for a while. “It was Orbea that came to us, the idea had kind of been brewing for a few months before the ‘cross season,” Rob Holmgren explains. “They were keen to sponsor young athletes, with a long-term focus in mind. There are definitely gaps in the sport when it comes to sponsoring juniors, so it’s been great to have them onboard.”
As anyone who follows the team knows, the group of cyclists on the squad are definitely athletes to not only watch for in the future, but in the present. At the 2022 junior ‘cross worlds, Ian Ackert impressed the cycling world with an incredible ride, going from dead last, ultimately finishing in 8th. He had suffered a mechanical early on but never gave up, posting some of the fastest times of the race. Ava and Isabella Holmgren also had fantastic ‘cross seasons, culminating with the twins finishing seventh and eighth in the junior women’s race.
Vermette is having a stellar season thus far. She’s had several top results, including an eighth in the at the Petrópolis, Brazil season opener. Rounding out the team is Marin Lowe, another junior, who continues to impress, including a ninth at UCI Junior Series XCO in Nové Město, Czech Republic, finishing just behind the Holmgrens who came in at seventh and eighth.
Rob Holmgren explains that the long term plans are looking good for the team. “Two years at a time, but they have said they are looking long term, when we have discussions we are talking about 2030,” he says. “The team grows with them. Given that there’s not a lot of support for juniors, it’s pretty great to have them in it for the long run.”
Right now there are five riders on the team, but that could grow in the future. As well as Orbea, there’s Stimulus Performance Training, Bioracer clothing, We Are One Composites, Challenge tires, Shimano, Ontario Waterway Cruises, and Hardwood Nextwave. Both Rob and Lisa Holmgren run the coaching side of the team, with Mark Ackert in the role of manager. Andrew Doble is the mechanic for the squad.
“We are excited for the future, and to have support our riders in all three disciplines,” Holmgren says. “Having a bike company like Orbea, that makes all three forms of bikes is incredible.”
The team will spend the month of June heading to Canada Cups, in Baie Saint Paul, Que., on June 4, Canmore two weeks later, followed by Whistler on June 24.