Making history on the road
In April, Ottawa’s Matteo Dal-cin became the first Canadian to win the overall classification at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, a 31-year-old stage race in California. He and his teammates were also on a tear throughout the first half of the 2016 season with Nigel Ellsay coming second at the Joe Martin Stage Race, Alex Cataford second at Tour of the Gila and Ryan Roth winning both the Winston-salem Cycling Classic and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay, with Ben Perry in second place.
In February, Ryan Roth injured his calf and couldn’t race. What effect did that have on the team for the early season races in the U.S.? He was out of commission for San Dimas and Redlands. At the time, we didn’t know much beyond that. Normally we look to Ryan as the most experienced and strongest guy. Going into that block of racing everybody had to step up and make sure they pulled their weight and try to get some results because we couldn’t lean on Ryan.
That whole block ended up being really good. Pretty much every race a different guy stepped up into a leadership role, whether it was me at Redlands, Nigel at Joe Martin and Alex at Gila.
What’s it like to have the team working for you and then working for another teammate? When you have everybody help you out at one race, it just makes you want to help them that much more whenever you have the opportunity to do so. Everyone shares the opportunities to get some good results. Gord Fraser, who has more than 200 wins, has been the team director full-time since the beginning of 2015. What’s it been like working with him? He’s an incredible director in terms of his ability to read the race and predict what’s going to happen. It’s almost to the point that you get a script before the race and you’re just waiting for it to pan out. You’re not wondering if what he said is going to happen. It’s just whether you have the legs and are in the right position to execute when it actually happens. Tell me about your family’s connections to cycling? My dad raced and my mom rides as well. I think my dad was Cat. 1/2 here. When he raced in Italy, he did some amateur stuff there. My grandfather was part of the organization behind Ottawa’s Preston Street Criterium. Eventually he got out of it, but for as long as I can remember, we’d go to watch that race. Eventually, I got old enough that I could start racing it. At that time, my dad was part of the group that organized it, so that was pretty special. And it takes place on Father’s Day.
What kind of work you do with your dad in the off-season? My dad has a home-renovation company. Before I signed with Silber, I’d work with him over the fall and winter, sporadically in the summer. Now, I’m on the road too much to do that. But, I still try to do one or two projects with him in the fall when I’m at home. Last fall we did a basement. We put in an entertainment room, laundry room and a workout area. The fall before, it was a kitchen.
Are you naturally handy? [Laughs.] I don’t know if it’s natural. I’ve learned over the years. It took a while to get a knack for it. I do enjoy it and it’s good to spend time with my dad. We usually quit a bit early and get a ride in the afternoon.