The riders in the hard-to-miss orange kits of Silber Pro Cycling stormed to result after result throughout the 2016 season. Beginning, most notably, with Matteo Dal-Cin’s overall win at the Redlands Cycling Classic through to Kris Dahl’s victory on Stage 1 of the Tour of Utah, the team has seen different riders step up with strong performances. The team also has wins at the Winston-Salem Classic, Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay and White Spot | Delta road race thanks to veteran Ryan Roth. There were podiums at the Joe Martin Stage Race and Tour of the Gila as the result of strong rides by Nigel Ellsay and Alex Cataford, respectively. Ben Perry is the second-ranked under-23 rider in the UCI America Tour.
As a result of their success, six riders from Silber will be members of Team Canada at the WorldTour Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal on Sept. 9 and 11. The Montreal-based team currently sits second overall in the UCI America Tour, which helped Canada receive six spots at the world championships in Doha, Qatar for the men’s elite road race.
Director sportif Gord Fraser said, “It is confirmation that the guys have had a good season. We have assumed the label of Canada’s top team, so seeing so many of our riders on the national team is not a big surprise. The guys are really looking forward to riding with Guillaume [Boivin] and Bruno [Langlois].”
Before the WorldTour races, Silber head to the Tour of Alberta where they will once again race against some of the world’s best from Sept. 1 to 5. In 2015, Perry won the KOM jersey.
“This year, our aspirations are more ambitious,” explained team owner Scott McFarlane. “We are hoping Ryan and Alex can do well in the Stage 4 individual time trial to set them up for strong finishes in the general classification. Our riders are also more confident about stage hunting this year; expect Ben to be extremely active. Matteo, when he gets into that mode which we saw at Redlands, he can realistically carve out a result.”
With increased ambitions and successes, Silber has proven that it can develop Canadian talent. For the foreseeable future, the team will continue to fulfill this mandate at the continental level. “Canada needs a continental team that is succeeding at developing riders, a focal point for cadets and juniors to aspire to,” said McFarlane. “It’s really important that we stay continental for at least two years. Then we are going to evaluate where we are.”
The team has secured sponsorship for the next three-years which give it stability but McFarlane hopes that the team’s success will attract increased corporate sponsorship in the coming years that will allow it to perhaps one day move up to the pro continental level. Some of the team’s partners in 2016 include Giordana clothing, Clif Bar and The 11 Inc. shop whose owner Heath Cockburn was working doing a bike fit with new signing Nick Zukowsky in preparation for worlds when we spoke to McFarlane. Cockburn also worked with Ben Perry and Ryan Roth on their bike fits. Cockburn is more than just a financial sponsor who helps provide components McFarlane says, “he is involved in a lot of our efforts to build the team.”
Director sportif Gord Fraser, whose role in helping the young riders develop cannot be understated said, “Unfortunately we haven’t been able to dramatically increase the budget for next year. Silber Investments has given us stability but to keep the collective together and graduate the team as they improve, we are going to have to find more support. We expect to probably lose a couple of guys. Of course, we would prefer to grow and keep the core together as they develop but it’s not yet possible.”
That means, for now, the team will continue to seek out young and promising riders to give them the support and opportunity to develop their talents.”In the next two years, we are going to focus on hiring younger riders so that when they reach Dal-Cin’s level, they are a year or two younger, making them more attractive to the WorldTour teams,” explained McFarlane.
With such a strong roster, Silber riders will surely be seen representing their country on the world stage in Doha in both the elite and under-23 races, and, in the future, on the top squads in cycling.