Canadians in the Second Tier
In order to conclude the “series” I have been working on over the past couple of weeks highlighting some of Canada’s top cycling talent for the 2015 season (Men, Women, and Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), I will take a look at the Canadians who are racing at the Pro Continental level.
Pro Continental is the step just below the World Tour and you will often see the jerseys of these teams being prominent features in the breakaways at the Grand Tours. Teams in cycling’s second tier have an opportunity to get wild card invites to the year’s biggest races. This means there is another opportunity to see Canadians race in the biggest events of the racing calender.
Dominique Rollin – Cofidis, Solutions Credits
After taking the 2014 season off, Rollin returns to professional cycling with Cofidis. The 32 year-old has Grand Tour experience, competing in the Giro and Vuelta twice each. Cofidis frequently earns an invite to the Grand Tours so it is a strong possibility that Rollin could appear in his fifth Grand Tour in 2015. Not known for his stage winning, Rollin will play the role of domestique at Cofidis for the likes of French sprint star Nacer Bouhanni.
Dominique Rollin is the only Canadian born rider racing at the Pro Continental level but there is an “honorary Canadian” in Davide Frattini.
Davide Frattini – UnitedHealthcare
Frattini is an Italian born rider but he calls Barrie, Ontario home. He heads into his 5th season with UnitedHealthcare, who are looking to make their Grand Tour depute in 2015. UHC are also a fixture of the Spring Classics with Frattini participating in Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix in 2014. The 36 year-old also has Grand Tour experience, previously starting the Vuelta way back in 2003. Hopefully we’ll see a bit of this proud “Italian-Honorary Canadian” in the biggest races of 2015.
That’s a wrap on my look at Canada’s top riders ahead of the 2015 season. I will definitely be keeping my eye on them when racing kicks off in the spring, so watch this space for updates on how our boys and girls are doing.