It's hard to overstate just how incredible the 2017 season was for Rally Cycling. We made history at the Tour of California, won nine national championships in Canada and the US, and took overall victory at five of North America's biggest stage races. Simply put, the team dominated racing in North America.
We asked a few members of Rally Cycling to share what it was about the team this year that led to such amazing results – so read on, laugh, cry and celebrate an all-time banner year with one of America's oldest cycling team's. Thank you to our partners and fans for all of your support!
“There were honestly too many high points to count from this year. Starting with Evan Huffman winning Tour of the Gila and TWO stages of the Tour of California. For me, winning stage five of the Tour de Beauce and then winning the overall at the Tour of Utah were huge. Utah was the biggest result of my professional career, and I will never forget that. Then we capped off the North American season by winning the Tour of Alberta – it was a fairytale season.”
“The 2017 season was one for the books! Winning North Star in both individual and team general classification was huge for us. Our Canadians tore it up at road nationals, and from a personal standpoint winning the US Criterium Championship was the highlight for me. Not only did the team mesh on the bike, but we had a unique bond off the bike. Sara Bergen started a "photo project" where we would stage an epic photo with props. The one that stands out the most for me is from Joe Martin, one of the first races we did together as a team. Our host had this beautiful, antiquated home with priceless pieces of art, fine cutlery and dinnerware. The girls got together and set the dinner table with our hosts’ dinnerware, and Bergen set the mood with some candles. The photos turned out awesome, and there was a lot of laughing in the process. It pretty much set the tone for the season. That picture, as well as additional photo projects, are on our social media sites!”
“The highlight for me was Tour of California. Winning two stages was a career-defining result in itself, but it was extra special for me being my home race and coming back after a bittersweet second place stage result the year before. It was also significant having my fiancé Heather there every day. Getting married to her in October will certainly be a highlight of my year, if not my entire life.”
“My 2017 road season with Rally Cycling has truly been one of my favorites since I started racing bikes ten years ago. On and off the bike, I experienced a new level of passion for what I do that I have never really felt to this extent. The team's improvement throughout the season was undeniable and being a part of it was special. Personally, it was a breakout season with getting my first UCI stage win at Gila, first stage race win at the North Star Grand Prix, and a couple of U23 National titles. Even more than that, the planning and tactics the team displayed all year is what made the season unforgettable. Whether or not we got the results, I've never raced with such a cohesive group. We have our staff to thank for that!”
“I came into 2017 more trained than I have ever been but it was my connection with my teammates that carried me the farthest. One key moment was when Pierrick Naud and I were fly fishing in Bend, Oregon, after one of the stages of the Cascade Classic. We rode a 150cc scooter down to the river in the middle of town. He ties a fly, and we reflect on our season together. Quickly he has a fish. We are smiling with excitement at the prospect of a keeper. That day was symbolic for me of how our team would pull together and help each other land a "big fish" – a.k.a. win. 2017 was by far the most memorable year for myself and all of Rally Cycling. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.”
“It was a treat to be part of Rally Cycling in 2017. We came out swinging for the fences at every race we did. For me, the highlight had to be winning Nationals at home and getting some redemption for last year where I crashed out in the last corner and didn't get a chance to go for the win. It was super exhilarating to win at home and I'm excited to fly the Canadian flag going into next year with Rally Cycling.”
“Going into the 2017 season I didn’t know what to expect. I was coming off an injury that forced me off of my bike for a large part of the offseason. It was a big change from my usual winters of being a part of the Canadian track team that trains and races throughout the winter. I knew it would be a slow start to the season coming off my surgery, which contained a lot of ups and downs. This slow start to the season all paid off throughout TTT camp, Nature Valley Grand Prix, Canadian Road Nationals, and American TTT Nationals. This stretch was by far my favorite with the team, with a lot of fun and success on and off the bike. In particular, road nationals was unique for me and the rest of the Canadians on the team. The race was ours to lose. We were able to force and stack a break and then finish it off with a seamless leadout going 1-2-4. It was one of the most selfless and strongest rides that I have ever witnessed. To pull on the national champion’s jersey is something I’ll always remember."
“Despite all the outstanding individual performances, victories were always shared. Sacrifices reciprocated. I attribute this to the personalities on the team and the humble confidence we share as a group. Yes, we beat ourselves up at training camp, racing up each climb and half wheeling one another on the front, but it was never personal. It was never one rider saying to another rider "I'm better than you, I'm stronger." Instead, we collectively viewed these small challenges the same way; as motivation to show up and do the work day-in, day-out."
“I loved my time with the team this year. I felt like we were all able to mesh well on and off the bike. There were different opportunities for all of us to shine and it was nice having a team backing each other throughout the year. It is a pretty laid back team and that is nice. No stress really, we just keep it light and fun. One of the best memories was my time with the team on the Alberta podium at the end of the year for the team classification win. Spraying each other with champagne, laughing and having fun. It was a symbol of the whole year for us – work hard together, perform well as a team and we all get something out of it. Then we can celebrate and have fun as well. I love this team and am excited for my future with Rally Cycling.”
“For me, the highlight of the season was the unique mentality and ‘personality’ of the team. During races, we hold ourselves and our teammates accountable for performing well, all while maintaining a cheerful, family atmosphere. I think the environment of the team speaks to the incredible performances we’ve had as a group this year. Every team member is excited to take part in the group’s success knowing they can return to the RV or the dinner table after the race and celebrate or speak honestly as friends rather than simply colleagues.”
"There were so many great performances in 2017. It would be hard to pick just one. Ultimately, the thing I will remember most is the atmosphere inside the team. No matter what happened in the race or how much pressure the riders were under, they were always having fun. This was an important factor that contributed to many of the team’s successes. I’ll always remember how the culture of the team and the camaraderie among teammates helped us to reach another level.”
"In 2017 I think you saw a lot of the women coming of age in the sport. They are getting to a point where they believe in each other and it creates great opportunities for success. It's easier to take the risk, put in that big dig, if you know you have a group that can cover your back. The riders have been doing the right work to become better individuals, teammates and ambassadors for the sport. It's an exciting time to be involved in women's cycling and even more exciting to be a part of the special culture growing within the Rally Cycling women's program."
“Its hard to pick one or even a few moments from this 2017 season. From start to finish, it was a standout year for this program. One theme that persisted which was very memorable for me, was the laughter in the RV before the start of each race. Sometimes we would be only moments away from tackling the next big stage, looking to win, or defending the overall lead, and there would be a roar coming from within the bus. No matter the plan for the day, how serious the team meeting was, how much pressure we put on the guys to perform, they absorbed everything and always made time to bond and have fun with each other. It's not easy to break the ice before an important competition, but with this group it was a constant. And for them I think it was essential. It was their time to relax before they would get down to business and work to accomplish our goals. In my opinion, they mastered their time on and off the bike this year."
"For myself, the most memorable parts of 2017 were what this team has done above and beyond the scope of bike racing. While almost everyone can track the significant performances the teams had, not too many know of our efforts to positively impact people's lives. Our involvement with the UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation (UHCCF) is a huge source of pride for me. While grappling with a very heavy race calendar, we created the time to staff and support several UHCCF events and charity rides. It was never an issue to find people willing to represent Rally Cycling because everyone believes in this organization. It should also be noted that our very generous sponsors gladly signed up to support these UHCCF events, so it was indeed a whole team event.
While we enjoyed record performances at the 2017 Tour Of California, we helped raise over $30K for the foundation through the auction of custom painted Diamondback bicycles. Each bike represented a passion or hope of a child who is less fortunate. Through this connection we had families visit us at several events over the course of the season. In each case, the entire team was under huge pressure to perform on that day. Everyone onsite welcomed some of smallest and most exuberant fans and their families. A tour of the RV, gift bags from the soigneurs, signed hats, t-shirts and of course plenty of photo opportunities were the standard on each visit. There was never a need to explain the importance of this activity to everyone onsite as we all want to make a difference to these families in need. I am proud of the whole team for understanding the importance of all our sponsor activities and especially their genuine passion with regard to anything UHCCF."