Saanich cyclists team up for tour

Pro racers get jump on season with Costa Rica road race

Pro cyclists Cory Wallace and Emile Fromet de Rosnay use Mount Tolmie to train for its hill and location

Emile Fromet de Rosnay has his Christmas shopping out of the way early this year.

And his finals marking too.

The University of Victoria assistant professor of French literature and culture is also a semi pro cyclist, and is jumping into the holiday break early to compete in his first Vuelta a Costa Rica, an 11-stage road race tour through the Central American country, Dec. 14 to 25.

“It’s definitely early to be training,” said de Rosnay, who races the bulk of his season throughout the Northwest between April and September. “I’ve done stage races before but this is 11 stages. A lot of the riders there use it to train, so it attracts various elite cyclists.”

De Rosnay is on a “composite” team set up for this race only. It’s  called One per cent For The Planet, set up by Jean-Michel Lachance of Quebec.

Also racing on the team is fellow Saanich resident Cory Wallace, a full-time mountain biking pro who races road as well, including about six of the same events as de Rosnay. Wallace’s bread and butter is 24-hour and marathon cross-country mountain bike racing for Team Kona (he’s won silver in the world 24-hour championships). De Rosnay, meanwhile, is a focused time trialer who returned to the sport in his early 30s after quitting a promising career at the age of 19.

It’s the first time they’ll be on the same team, but they generally know their roles already.

“I’ll be bringing up a lot of water bottles [from the back],”  jokes de Rosnay. There is an individual time trial in the race but it’s up a hill, and the Central American climbers they’ll face will be too competitive, Wallace and de Rosnay said.

“We’ll be suffering,” Wallace confirmed. “They have cyclists who weigh about 110 pounds, and one of the stages is called Cerro de la Muerto [Summit of Death], the highest peak along the Pan-American Highway [that runs from Alaska to Chile].”

That said, the two are happy to get an early jump on the season’s training.

“It’s an awesome event, the Costa Rica Cycling Federation looks after you for two weeks, so it’s a sweet way to see the country,” said Wallace, who has done the Vuelta a Costa Rica twice before.

“There’s vacationing Canadians who come up to you after the stages and they’re really excited to see you.”

It’s also a break from the dark, cold and rain. The two rode for five hours around the South Island on Sunday.

“Most cyclists are back to training now and you get tired of the dark and cold after a month or two, and this really breaks it up,” Wallace said.

As for the racing, de Rosnay and Wallace said they’ll be fine as long as the stages are flat. Problem is, six of the stages are hills.

“We’ll be suffering.”



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