Written by paceuts of paceuts
Last season was a record-setting one for Canada’s national team, with historic 5th place finishes in both the CoN and final WT standings, an all-time points record of 1080, and the top two individual riders in all of the WT. However, the team believes it can top or match these feats in season 54. Here, we discuss five key questions that will dictate what the team can achieve this year.
1. Will the climbing team continue dominating?
Our climbing team has been Canada’s strong suit over the past few seasons, with Ethanael Parsley (29), last year’s top scorer in the WT, leading the way. We have a strong supporting cast with Emrick Quain (28), Bud Castleberry (28), Angus Papke (27), Travis Sweetman (26), Dale Keeton (28), Clyde Enlow (29) and Paxton Zajac (25) all improving with age and heading into their best years. Anything short of a podium will be disappointing for the team at climbing races this year.
2. Can the sprinting team perform consistently at a world-class level?
It was a mixed year last year for the sprinting team. Enoch Rinks (29), second-highest points scorer in the WT last year behind Parsley, led the team to a win in CoN Beijing, but was
also anonymous at times. He can continue to count on the support 40-time Team Canada rider Rolf Runnels (32), Culvert Larrison (29), and Archer Addis (34). However, he should also expect some of younger faces such as Albert Lowrey(27), Irving Watts (24), and possibly Conway Traugott (23) to cement their roles in Canada’s sprint train for seasons to come. The nation hopes this team is strong enough to bring consistent results throughout the season.
3. Is the rejuvenated cobbles team ready to compete with the best?
This season will likely be remembered by Canadians as the one in which Darcy Zampogna (23) burst on the scene. The young cobbled specialist will try to bring Canada back to the top of the world of cobbling after idol Barrett Lether’s retirement last year. Fellow young guns Shelley Smouse (26), Fletcher Snowden (23), Dwayne Wayland (28) and Brock Layne (23) are all names who may support Zampogna on the pave this season. We won’t have to wait long to see how this young team stacks up, with Zampogna likely getting the nod as Canada’s captain in Velikiye Luki - Gruzdovo this week.
4. What will a year
of transition bring for the hill team?
28-time Team Canada rider Albern Goucher (32) has been the undisputed captain of our hill team since the days of Mark Turnbow and Stewart Reagin. However, age is catching up to him fast, and this may be a year in which some new faces are given the opportunity to lead. Bradley Petrey (29), Albert Lowrey (27), and Evan Takacs (28) will all be vying for the coveted spot. He who earns it can depend on an experienced support team with the likes of Alfie Schultz (31), Olin Loop (33), and Egan Deyoung (32).
5. Can the top time trialists bring us valuable points in Washington?
Canada has had several world-class time trialists recently, with last year’s World Champion Kimball Lascomb (28), former ITT World Championships top-5 placers Caldwell Kimberlin (35) and Barclay Moring (30), and last year’s Fast on Wheels champion Jerome Stice (29). However, the team has failed to deliver a result better than 8th in 7 editions of the race. They will hope their fortunes improve this time around.