Former Olympian and Canadian Cycling Hall of Famer joins Gatineau-based Canadian trade team
March 10th, 2017 by Philippe Tremblay
Gatineau-based Canadian trade team Lowestrates.ca has announced that former Canadian national road and time trial champion, Olympian and Cycling Canada Hall of Famer Lyne Bessette has joined as director sportif for the 2017.
Lowestrates.ca Cycling Team owner Frédérick Gates made the announcement that the Lac-Brome, Que. native would come on as the team enters it’s third season during which it once again will look the North American UCI races for opportunities.
“I’ve always admired Lyne’s determination and outspoken personality. She’s had enormous success while facing multiple challenges on and off the bike during most of her career, and still accomplished all of it while keeping her integrity intact,” Gates explained about the decision to bring Bessette on as director sportif. “My goal was to find someone with character, passion and lots of experience. I could not think of a better person than Lyne to lead the way.”
Bessette is looking forward to taking up the role of director sportif with Lowestrates.ca. “I’ve never directed a team before. I have been asked multiple times but it was never a good timing with my calendar and what I was doing. I think now that the opportunity has come again, I really wanted to try to give back and try a new challenge,” explained Bessette.
“I want to be close to development, I really think that’s the base that we need to work on to help grow the sport. I also like the goals and what the team has done before in supporting other countries,” Bessette said about the team which traveled to Rwanda in 2016 to take part Tour du Rwanda and used the trip to bring cycling equipment to local clubs.
Bessette began cycling after her running career was put on hold because of injury. After winning the 1995 Quebec provincial championship she was propelled to the higher ranks of the sport and would represent Canada at the Olympics in 200o and 2004. She won a gold medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, bronze at the 2001 Commonwealth Games, she was road national champion in 2001 and 2004, and time trial champion in 2001 and 2003. Over the course of her cycling career she also twice win the Tour de Laude in France, finished on the podium at the Flèche Wallonne and Montreal World Cups and earned top-15 placings at the road and cyclo-cross world championships.
Bessette retired in 2006 at which time she joined the Canadian national para-cycling program where she piloted visually impaired athlete Robbi Weldon. Together they won world titles in 2010 and 2011 and became Olympic champions at the Londo Paralympics in 2012.
The team gathers for training camp in Nashville on April 1 at which time Bessette will get the chance to meet the 2017 roster. On June 8 to 11, Lowestrates.ca will contest the first UCI race on it’s 2-17 calendar, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay.
Bessette also intends to pair her role with the team while continuing to train for events she plans to participate in this season. She will race the Rasputitsa Spring Classic in Vermont, Les 100 à B7 cyclosportive she is organizing for the fifth year, she plans to participate in an adventure race in China, and the first Haute Route event held in North America which features 815 km of riding with 15,000 metres of climbing in the Rocky Mountains.