Canadian Cycling Magazine (Issue 5.4, Page 14 – August / September 2014) — Canada has been without a pro continental level cycling team since SpiderTech dissolved near the end of 2012. In May, two proposals to create second-tier professional teams surfaced. One came from British Columbia, the other North Carolina.
Mark Ernsting, the CEO of M1 Sports Management, announced that he and his advisory board were working on the development of a continental team for 2015. In four to six years, the plan is to create another team at the pro continental or even WorldTour level. The continental team would continue and support its higher-calibre relative.
“The continental team is to be the biggest and strongest team that Canada can have,” said Ernsting. “That’s not to take away from anything that’s currently going on with the other continental teams because I think there is a need for them. But this team would be able to compete at and get the invites to larger events in North America. The goal is to be able to provide a proper stepping stone for our most talented 19- to 25-year-olds, so that they can continue to develop for the next four to five years. When the pro continental or WorldTour team is accomplished, they are ready to take that step to the next stage in their career.
Jamie Bennett, the owner of Team SmartStop, revealed that he was looking into bringing his Winston-Salem, N.C.-based outfit to Toronto. Bennett, who was born in London, Ont., feels he could turn his continental team into a pro continental one with the proper financial support, which he believes he can find in Canada. Currently, there are three Canadians on SmartStop: Zach Bell, Rob Britton and Kris Dahl. Dahl was on Ernsting’s H&R Block development squad in 2013, until the young rider won a stagiaire contract with SmartStop in June of that year.
This article can be found in the Current Issue of Canadian Cycling Magazine: Issue 5.4, Page 14