Thursday, March 8, 2012

VCL 2012 - Let the games begin

Photo Courtesy of Duane Martindale 
The 2012 Victoria Cycling League is set to kick off this weekend on Sunday, March 11 at 10:30am at Caleb Pike.  Excitement is building for what will undoubtedly be another fun and competitive series.   Expect to see some great action in both A and B group races.  There is also the expectation that more new riders will participate in C races as they learn the ropes. All-in-all, bike racing in Victoria is looking good and should kick up to a new level for 2012. 

Predictions for this year?

A Group Racing
- Pro City Racing and Team Russ Hay's/Accent Inns will be engaged throughout the year in a aggressive yet friendly rivalry for overall A Group dominance. 
- From Pro City Racing (PCR), the expectation will be strong performances from Jamie Cameron, Todd Malczynski, and John Rogers.   However, many guys are expected to raise their A-Game. So we could see surprises from Alex Hui, Jason Binab, or Wade Smith.  The motivation in this team is high and it is expected that PCR will take advantage of any situation to go for the "W". 
- Team Russ Hay's/Accent Inns (RH/AI) is a new team for 2012 that has extensive depth and breadth in talent.  Though primarily focussed on BC Cup and US races, the team is still hoping to do hone their skills in the VCL and to be consistent.  The team brings new blood tempered with seasoned veterans.  Expect aggressive riding from Curis Dearden, Jon Watkin, Emile De Rosnay, and Raph Lalumiere.  However, other riders are also expected to race aggressively such as young-guns Henry de Boever, Dylan Cunningham, and Jordan Duncan. 
-Tripleshot/Spinnakers will be in the mix with Gavin Eaton and Peter Lawless, who always seem to raise the bar higher each year.
- IRC's Steve Bachop is expected to stamp his authority early in the season. Rumor has it that he is flying right now and will be looking to raise the level of suffering for the other racers to a new level.  The expectation is that Steve will be seen at the front of every race and pushing the pace at every turn.
- Trek/Red Truck will have the occasional presence at VCL 2012 and will always kick it up a notch.  With Craig Logan,Tyler Trace and Dan Skinner involved in the mix, there is a guarantee that the race will be fast and furious, leaving only the strongest to go for it. New to the team is Adam de Vos who has shown great promise and has gained from some international experience by representing Canada at last year's junior world cycling championships.
- Expect this group to be bigger than last year as there are a number of B Group racers who will be racing with the A's this year.  Keep a eye out for Kelly Landolt (IRC), David Strasser (RH/AI), and possibly Kevin Ford (PCR)

B Group Racing
- With some of the top B Group racers from 2011 advancing to A Group, this will give the opportunity for other racers to stamp their authority.  Tripleshot/Spinnakers will be well represented here and will always have someone at the front. 
- Victoria Academy of Cycling will be there and capitalize on VCL racing to improve their skills and gain additional fitness. Steve Lund has developed a solid track record in recruiting and developing young cyclists into world-class athletes. 

- Noted changes for 2012 include the absences of some key riders such as Shailie Sandbrooks, Annie Ewart, and Nic Vogler.  Shailie is racing for Team Kenda and Annie is now racing her first year as a neo-pro with the Optum Pro Cycling Team.  Nic has accepted a gig with SPECIALIZED-MAZDA-SGC.
- Megan Rathwell of Team Russ Hay's/Accent Inns is expected to do well here and to use VCL as preparation for BC races as well as some key events in the Pacific Northwest.  Her team-mate, Amy Dearden, is also expected to be in the mix and will always make the racing fast and exciting.  
- Naomi Cooper from Trek/Red Truck will be there when there are no other bigger races going on at the same weekend and will be certain to try to take a win.
-Expect some good riding from Shannon Baerg (Russ Hay's) and Rhonda Collender (IRC). 
-VAC will have some good representation with Christy Moser, Clara Mackenzie, and Sophie De Boever.  
- Tripleshot/Spinnakers will also be in the mix with Jen Erlendson, Brenna Pauly, and Glenowyn Carlson.

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