Ryan Anderson in hunt for King of Mountains at Tour de Suisse, world’s fourth-biggest race
(BC Superweek) Whistler’s Will Routley and Vancouver’s Ryan Anderson are busy this week as part of the first Canadian team to race at the prestigious Tour de Suisse, but still found time to commit to racing back home at BC Superweek in early July.
With $105,000 up for grabs over nine races, after the return of the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix this summer, Routley and Anderson are hoping to bring another teammate from Steve Bauer’s Spidertech powered by C10 team.
Anderson finished Thursday tied with Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) for third place in the King of the Mountains competition. He’s just one point off the lead for the top climber award through six of nine stages at the Tour de Suisse, considered the biggest race outside the three Grand Tours (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta d’Espana).
Routley is in the midst of a second season racing professionally in Europe that already includes an impressive top-10 finish at the Presidential Tour of Turkey. He thinks Spidertech powered by C10 will need even more help at BC Superweek, because this year’s field is expected to be the strongest ever, impressive for an event with a long history of Olympians and top professionals with Grand Tour experience.
“We’re hoping to bring another great sprinter and have solid a BC Superweek,” Routley said. “With me and Ryan, one of us could win the race, but there still will be a big team that will be able to cover every break the whole race, so if it comes down to a sprint finish it would be nice to have one more good sprinter.”
Who that might be will be determined later. Spidertech C10 teammate Zach Bell has a long history at BC Superweek, but this year’s race may be too close to the London Olympics, where Bell should be a medal favorite on the track.
Routley said there is always a collection of top North American professionals riding at BC Superweek, but expects more to come with bigger teams now, especially with the return of the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, a race once won by a young Lance Armstrong, which has a $40,000 prize pool that includes $15,000 for the men’s winner – the largest prize in North America for a single criterium.
“There are always a handful of amazing guys that come up and it’s always competitive, but I would have to think that with that money, there’s even more of an incentive to bring up a few more guys,” said Routley, who unfortunately had to withdraw from the Tour de Suisse after struggling to fight off a bad flu bug. “A lot of guys saw that and said ‘man, I want to book BC Superweek into my summer.’”
Routley has always worked BC Superweek into his schedule. With Canadian cycling in the world spotlight thanks to Ryder Hesjedals’ historic win at the Giro d’Italia, the fellow mountain biker turned road racer believes the sport is at an all time high in Canada, not just because of Hesjedals’ dramatic victory in Italy, but also because of what is going on right behind him in Europe.
There were three other Canadians competing at the Giro d’Italia – Langley’s Svein Tuft, who finished ninth in the final stage time trial; Christian Meier, who combined with Tuft to help Orica-GreenEDGE teammate Matthew Goss win a stage at the Giro; and Dominique Rollin of FDJ-Big Mat. All three competed at BC Superweek in recent years and, like Routley, Tuft and Meier developed at the local races.
Routley said when he switched from mountain bikes to road racing 10 years ago there was only one Canadian, Michael Barry, racing in Europe. Now he’s part of an entire Canadian team over there, with the hopes Spidertech C-10 will compete in Grand Tours as a mostly Canadian squad within the next couple of years.
“I think Canadian cycling is the best it’s ever been.” Routley said. “Ryder has become a superstar, but we have a whole host of guys on the way up. So it’s not like a novelty of someone winning a Grand Tour and that’s the end of it. This is just the beginning. We have a lot more depth and with the number of guys over here setting an example, we’ll keep going. It’s totally unprecedented.”
Routley pointed to BC Superweek as playing a key role. For local riders it’s the best chance to test themselves against top professionals, a cycle Routley took part of from both ends, with younger cyclists now chasing him. In the last few years, many from Vancouver have earned pro contracts as a result.
“It’s grown well beyond local level, but it still comes back to that,” Routley said. “BC Superweek paves the way as a new rider to race against top guys and creates a way different learning curve. When I stared there was one Canadian on a pro US team and now there are Canadians on all the pro US teams, dozens in the last few years. It makes it acceptable for a US team to say ‘this Canadian guy performing well locally might be a good guy to hire, so we’ll give him a chance.’”
BC Superweek starts with the three-stage Tour de Delta from July 6-8, continues mid week with the UBC Grand Prix on July 10, the Gobal Relay Gastown Grand Prix on July 11 and Giro di Burnaby on July 12, before wrapping up another three-stage weekend at the historic $15,000 Tour de White Rock, from July 13-15.
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Media Relations, BC Superweek