"Houshang Amiri, without a doubt, has been key to my success as a top level cyclist."
-Max Plaxton
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Houshang Amiri Head Coach with Smart Savvy Team

February 09, 2016

cycling, athlete, willock, amiri

Houshang Amiri will be travelling with the Giant Langley / SmartSavvy+ Cycling Team to Palm Springs as Head Coach from February 12-26. The nine cyclists in the team include talented Victoria cyclists Alex Amiri and Chris Macleod.

In a press release it was announced that the team focus is to invest resources into the top U23 riders in the country, creating a culture of excellence that will see them develop as champions on and off the bike. “Many on our roster are student athletes. They are high achieving academics, who happen to be really fast on their bikes too! So we are making sure that the student athlete is captured, and is able to continue their development at the highest levels of the sport without sacrificing one for the other,” states Marketing Director Rob Thomson.

The team based out of Langley, had its inaugural year in 2015. Mason Burtnik had a strong performance at the Junior Nationals, and was invited on a project to Europe with Cycling Canada. A lung infection cost him valuable training time and a spot on the roster heading to the world championships. However, Burtnik will be coming back as a motivated neo U23 racer, and looking for opportunities to grow with the team. His teammate from last year, Joshua Kropf, will also be looking for growth opportunities in his career. Last year Kropf had a break out season with strong performances during the BC Superweek and the provincial championships back in Saskatchewan. Both Burtnik and Kropf are the two remaining riders from last year, and are excited to start training and racing with their new teammates.

Highlighting the signings for the 2016 season is Junior National TT Champion, Derek Gee from Ottawa, Ont. Gee will bring much valued experience to the young group, after gaining some elite level opportunities in Europe as well as an appearance at the 2015 World Championships. Thomson declares, “Gee is a tremendous talent! He brings an unmatched work ethic, and will fit in well with our culture of pursuing excellence.”

Joining Gee will be a mixture of talent from across Western Canada. Connor Toppings is going into his second season as a U23 rider, and the Calgary native will be counted on for his time trial and stage race strengths. Amiri from Victoria, and Lukas Adomonis will be the other two racers who are in their second year of U23, and will be counted on to perform well when the course goes upward in races.

The remainder of the squad will be filled with a group of promising first year U23 athletes who have shown great potential in their junior events over the years – Lukas Conly from Saskatoon, Sask, Kellen Viznaugh from Revelstoke, BC, and Macleod from Victoria.

The team has applied for a National Trade Team license for 2016, and looks to make their mark at events across Canada and NW USA. The team focus is to build leaders on and off the bike, so they can be champions in all they do. Throughout the year the team will be raising awareness for the Battlefield Bike Ride, as well as funds to support Wounded Warriors Canada.

The Giant Langley / SmartSavvy+ team is proud to have a great host of partners who are making things possible. Giant Langley, SmartSavvy+ Associates, IRIS Visual, Rob Blakemore Fine Cabinetry, Vancouver Car Wraps, Energy Labs Wheels, Total Athlete, Pacific Cycling Centre, Open Road, and Wounded Warriors Canada.

2016 Roster

Mason Burtnik – Edmonton, Alberta

Joshua Kropf – Regina, Saskatchewan

Connor Toppings – Calgary, Alberta

Derek Gee – Ottawa, Ontario

Kellen Viznaugh – Revelstoke, British Columbia

Alex Amiri – Victoria, British Columbia


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