Health Net Team Team and Cannondale Presentation
Health Net and Cannondale team up to present the new ride. Comments from the
riders and President Thierry Attias on the team and future plans in 2006 for a
European schedule, riders to watch, and taking it up a notch. Event photos and
Helen's Cycles in Santa Monica, California drew over 200 hundred of the
cycling crazy riders of the La Grange Cycling Club and paparazzi to the red
shop was decked out with a life size poster of Gord Fraser in action on the
A poster you will likely see in your local Cannondale dealers shop in the near
future. Already, several of the attendees were already trying to garner first
rights to the display from the shop owner in the future when it is not needed.
While we waited for the riders to arrive and the red carpet to be rolled out;
food and wine was served to the eager cycling crazy Southern Californians, La
Grange honored the manager of the store with a framed Kahala/LaGrange
jersey in appreciation of Helen's Cycles support.
The first to arrive was the team mechanic with the new bike, who had a few
final touches to add to the Health Net Team Cannondale. The one and same Six/13
the bike Cunego and Simoni introduced to us last year, and has proved itself on
the roads of Europe. The 2006 Six/13 is a lighter faster machine, add this team
model in the Health Net colors to my Christmas list.
Last Minute attention to the Cannondale Six/13 Team Machine.
A 35 foot stretch highly waxed Humvee pulled up to the entrance and out stepped journeymen
Gord Fraser, Scott Moninger, Mike Sayers, new additions Nathan O'Neill (six time
Oz TT champ) and Kirk O'Bee (Navigators Insurance) of the top team in the North
American Pro Circuit and winner of the National Racing Calendar.
Health Net's roster becomes a bit more international this year with riders from
five countries: USA, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada.
O'Bee, Sayers, Fraser, O'Neill and Moninger wait to enter at the red carpet.
Thierry Attias, President and Director of Sponsorship with Kirk and Nathan on
the dais, welcomed us to the event and Cannondale to the team sponsors roster.
Thierry has great expectations for the team this year, but realistic that the
quality of the teams Health Net will face are bolstered by the addition of some
of his former riders of 2005.
Schedule plans are for an "A" team to make forays
in Europe for two three week raids in Europe as a Div II team. One trip will be
scheduled after the Tour of Georgia. With a roster of 16 and solid depth of
talent the "B" team should be capable of easily holding their own in the North
American pro circuit.
Jeff Corbett, D.S. Health Net, founder of 7-Up pro cycling team (which used
Cannondale bikes) expressed his appreciation and excitement to once again partner
up with Canondale and have the Six/13 as the team ride.
Regards splitting the team between races in USA and Europe: We're going to have
two squads racing all the time so everything on the US calendar will be booked.
Gord Fraser, Scott Moninger, Kirk O'Bee, Nathan O'Neill and Mike Sayers.
O'Neill was the first to field a Question during the Q&A with the team. When
asked if he would aim for the Commonwealth games...
Nathan said he was selected
but because of the teams schedule and preparation for the Tour of California and
the time traveling would miss the games and concentrate on the early season
races and preparing for the job ahead..
Gord Fraser fresh from his coaching camp in Tucson, Arizona when asked if he
would concentrate he and Scott would go to Europe or bring some of the younger
riders to show them the way and 'how it is,' this year answered,
...Well, no I don't think so, for me personally there isn't a real desire to go
to Europe, I may go on the second trip just go as closure thing, maybe to stir
up some old memories (smiling) or something, I don't know. It's really more
important for the younger guys, to get that experience. Kirk and Nathan,
of course, have got just as much European experience as Scott and I. So
there will be some of the older guys as mentors for the younger guys, definitely
on those European trips.
When asked if his memories were good or bad, Fraser answered, "A little bit of
both, lots of both." (Editors note: Gord along with Floyd Landis, Kirk
Willet and others of the Mercury/Viatel riders were stuck in Europe without
money when Viatel as a sponsor withdrew its funding from the team when their
stock and funding collapsed during the internet boom/crash; Mike Sayers, Gord Fraser and
Scott Moninger were all part of the strong Mercury team of John Worden.)
Scott Moninger, 2005 NRC Champion, most wins of any rider in the USA Circuit.
Scott Moninger added, "I personally don't plan to go over to Europe too much,
because it is usually something I I use to build up to other events that are
important to me on the US calendar. So it's really all about scheduling and
timing; and its something that predicts itself, if its going to works with
my schedule then for sure I will go over there; but then if I do feel like I
would be taking a spot of a younger guy who is probably a lot more anxious to
prove themselves and maybe start a career in Europe. So I plan on mostly
concentrating on the NRC calendar and how I will do in the U.S which is what I
When you look at the younger guys here are you more, not going to Europe your
self and bringing them along, mentoring them more or you taking more of a
leadership role along with Nathan?
Well you know, we got a lot more depth this year in the stage race department,
so hopefully, I will be there to lead the way for guys like Doug Ollerenshaw,
Mike Jones, Tim Johnson and some the younger guys who will be hopefully filling
my shoes real soon. I've been saying I was going to retire in a year or two for
the last 8 years, so I make no promises, so I'm just taking it one year at a
Cannondale reps with Gord, Scott, Kirk, Nathan and Sayers.
The Q & A ended with a poster signing and posed pictures for the paparazzi,
and the delivery of the first Canondale Six/13 Health Net team model to Helens
Cycling bike shop, which the owner of the shop had the lads sign.
Gord Fraser just back from his Camp in Tucson, enjoyed it a lot with Scott and
Floyd showing up, equally fun was teaching riders, so Gord plans to do more
camps in the future.
What races in Europe would you like to do?
We like the Three days of Dunkirk and
Rhienland Pfalz and we'll try to get a few other good one day races in between there.
The game plan is to take off for three weeks at a time, in March maybe,
and then come back. We're going to get up there, enjoy all that good California
warm weather (Tour of California); and then that first lull, the first trip will
be after the Tour of Georgia. So we'll do some criterium races, and take off
with a full-blown AA squad to Europe, race there for three weeks to a month,
depends upon what races we schedule then.
Then come back and be primed, ready to go, for a couple weeks before for Philly and the Wachovia races (Pro Tour Triple
Crown). Then again, were going to take another three week break in August
where we split the squads again, late-mid August and September. We hope to be
in the Tour of Britain, and do some races in France.
You know, we have a pretty good reputation in Europe of being able to hold our
own with the Euros. Obviously, we have some new signings, one more new signing
you haven't heard about, we will announce in the next few days.
Kirk O'Bee is a strong addition...I remember his day long solo in Sea Otter
in 2002, and took the points jersey..
Yes, he's strong; we think he can win US Pro, he's always top ten, he'll have
the team behind him.
One thing that is really good about this squad here is that there is a real
pecking order, with Mike (Sayers) there, you do not ride any less than 100% on
this team or these guys are up your butt, sooo fast. Its like a family of sled
dogs who aren't pulling your weight; the big dog will tell you you're not doing
All the guys will just "sell everything they have" and they expect every
rider on the team around them to do it too. So when you get young guys like Kyle
Gritters and Kirk O'Bee and they see this amount of dedication and willingness
to sell out everything they have for good of the team, they realize, "OK" then
when it's my turn these guys will "sell out everything they have" for me.
We have 5 guys who won different races; so you can see we aim for victory, that
everyone gets a shot, Mike Jones gets a shot, Doug Ollerenshaw gets a shot,
Scott will get a shot, everybody gets a shot. We kind of go in with an idea of
who we like; but
with the understanding that you have to hold your own, or the next guy gets the
Guys to watch (when you're not watching the whole team):
The guy you want to watch next year, Kirk O'Bee is obvious, but one guy
you don't who hear much about, who could have a phenomenal year this year is
Greg Henderson. This guy is getting so fast...
Yep, Hendy has been getting stronger each year...
Oh my God, he's giving up track for 100% road this year. Already this year he
could have been a complete threat at Philly and a complete threat at San
Francisco, but he was marking the perceived threats so he stayed in the groups
with the Freddy Rodriguez and Bobby Julich. He is so fast.
We signed Karl Menzies this year too, and we have so many guys we can send down
the road. You send one or two of these key guys up the road; the other teams
have to cover it, you can't just let one of these guys go.
Will you be going to Europe with the team?
Yes, I'll get over there, but not to direct, we have a director for that. What I
do is try and maintain the sponsors, I want make sure our sponsors get value out
it, great value, so I'll be there to make sure they do.
Our goal is, we have Health Net on board for another three years, our goal would
be to take it up a notch.
Signing the Health Net Cannondale Six/13, Moninger, O'Bee, O'Neill, Sayers.
Gord Fraser, Canada
Kyle Gritters, USA
Greg Henderson, New Zealand
Tim Johnson, USA
Mike Jones, USA
Roman Kilun, USA
Jeff Louder, USA
Karl Menzies, Australia
Scott Moninger, USA
Kirk O'Bee, USA
Nathan O'Neill, Australia
Doug Ollerenshaw, USA
Garrett Peltonen, USA
Mike Sayers, USA
Alberto Tibero, Switzerland