A new ven­ture for Andrew L’esper­ance and Evan Mc­neely

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - NEWS -

Andrew L’esper­ance and Evan Mc­neely formed For­ward Rac­ing-norco af­ter be­ing down­sized from the Norco Fac­tory Rac­ing ros­ter ear­lier this year. Al­though not on a fac­tory squad, the rid­ers are con­tin­u­ing to get sup­port from Norco through equip­ment spon­sor­ship. The Port Co­quit­lam, B.c.-based com­pany has also helped to bring Kenda tires and sram on­board as well.

“From the get-go, Norco had our back, just in a dif­fer­ent ca­pac­ity,” said L’esper­ance. “They’ve stood by us, which is great. We now also have more con­trol over some of the de­tails, like the de­sign of the team logo and our rid­ing kit.”

In Fe­bru­ary, L’esper­ance and Mc­neely were work­ing hard to se­cure ad­di­tional spon­sors and to so­lid­ify a race cal­en­dar. To round out the squad, they brought on un­der-23 rider Sean Fin­cham to help sup­port the promis­ing moun­tain biker. “Sean re­minds me of my­self at that point in my ca­reer,” said Mc­neely. “He’s done re­ally well, win­ning the ju­nior ti­tle at na­tion­als last year and eighth at ju­nior worlds. Andrew and I are hop­ing we can share our ex­pe­ri­ence to help Sean get even stronger.”

The change from be­ing fully sup­ported rac­ers to com­peti­tors and team man­agers has added a lot to their work­load. The two have se­cured fund­ing for the sea­son, and es­tab­lished a cal­en­dar that is a mix of North Amer­i­can and World Cup events. They’re also sort­ing out sup­port staff. At some events, Norco me­chan­ics will look af­ter the bikes, and at other races, Mc­neely and L’esper­ance will hire their own sup­port.

“The best part of the whole process for me has been shar­ing all of this with peo­ple who are close to us,” said L’esper­ance. “We’ve been able to bring on some great con­nec­tions who have be­come spon­sors who are de­voted to help­ing us suc­ceed.”— Dean­camp­bell

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