May 23, 2014 — A national initiative has been put in place to strategically bring like-minded individuals and organizations together in order to establish a long-term professional cycling platform that will allow Canadian athletes to develop and succeed on the international stage.
The long-term goal is to establish a World Tour team, but the short-term goal is establish a Continental men’s team. Once the long-term goal of a World Tour team is achieved, it is expected that the Continental program will remain in place and continue to act as a feeder program to the World Tour team. Alongside the men’s program will also be a UCI women’s program.
Cycling Canada’s President, John Tolkamp, endorses this initiative and states: “With Canada’s growing interest in cycling as a sport and increased international success, a Canadian based top level Pro Team is both a natural and critical element of the future success of Canadian cycling. It provides a focal point for the aspirations for youth, an environment where our nation’s top women and men cyclists can live their career dreams and opportunities and showcase Canada’s talent on the world stage. No doubt this team would cultivate new fans and supporters of what is the most amazing sport in the world.” John is also a member of the new Advisory Team behind the initiative.
M1 Sports Management, led by Mark Ernsting, feels that now is the perfect time to initiate this vision and explains: “It is very important that we create the right foundation as a management company that is responsible for the delivery of this initiative. It is important for companies to know that their marketing initiatives are being executed professionally and in accord with their objectives”.
To further this plan, Mark and M1 have formed an Advisory Team. According to Mark: “If this vision is going to be successful, it has to be a team effort across the country, not just by one person. This is a collaborative effort and I want to engage and involve individuals who can provide strategic advice. I also want the nation to – Join The Team – by becoming involved.”
Advisory Team member, Alex Stieda, North America’s first cyclist to wear the coveted Tour de France yellow jersey, emphasizes: “Creating value for sponsors will provide positive results for the future financial viability of the program. The sport has to look at the return on investment for the sponsors and Mark has created the foundation for this to happen. With a proper business case in place, companies will see that the sport of cycling is not only one of the most effective but also cost effective marketing strategies available”.
This vision could have been kept quiet, working diligently behind the scenes. However the Advisory Team and M1 felt that it would be better to let Canadians know of these plans and that there is a reputable team in place that have taken up this challenge. Mark notes: “Failure is not an option, the sport is growing too quickly for Canada not to have the right team in place to support Canadian athletes”.
Canadians who feel that they can support this initiative, or have a business that they think could benefit from using cycling as their next marketing platform, are invited to contact Mark directly.
Official Press Release: Announcement May 23, 2014