Cycling Centre Calgary: The Pathway to the Top

Do you want to train and develop as a cyclist? You can do that at the Cycling Centre Calgary (CCC).

The CCC, run by the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary), has programs for cyclists of all ages and abilities in road, track, cyclocross, mountain and para cycling. Based out of the Olympic Oval at the University of Calgary, the CCC takes athletes through a four-stage pathway: Development, Link, Performance, and High Performance.

The Development stage targets young athletes who do not have racing experience. These athletes begin training three times weekly working towards the Link stage, which aims to fast-track athletes to the Performance level through a more intense training schedule of five days per week.

Once athletes have progressed to the Performance and High Performance stages, the CSI Calgary’s team of sport scientists begin to put athletes through testing and data monitoring.

The specialists work closely with the CCC’s head coach, Philippe Abbott, to provide the athletes with specialized training programs that target their individual goals. Abbott gained his experienced racing professionally on the North American circuit and is also the Alberta provincial cycling coach.

The CCC has cyclists training in all stages of the pathway, giving newcomers the added benefit of interacting with veterans like Kris Dahl. Dahl, an idol to many CCC athletes, coaches the Link group when he is not away competing at big events such as the Tour of Alberta.

The CCC is also home to Liah Harvie and Gabby Traxler, who recently represented Canada in the junior categories at the 2015 UCI Road World Championships. This career stepping-stone will hopefully lead them to success at the senior level, such as that experienced by their predecessors Allison Beveridge and Kirsti Lay.

Beveridge and Lay are key members of Canada’s track pursuit team that won bronze at the World Track Cycling Championship in February and won gold at the 2015 PanAm Games. Beveridge began as a development athlete at the CCC and has diligently worked her way through the pathway. Her progress has culminated in a second world bronze medal in the Scratch Race.

Kirsty Lay, a former speed skater, was fast-tracked along the CCC pathway after being identified as having potential through the CSI Calgary’s Talent Lab. Lay received close monitoring and testing through the CSI Calgary so that Abbott could have extra insight while writing her program.

The CCC is building on its success and hopes to recruit new cyclists who can emulate the success of Harvey, Traxler, Dahl, Beveridge and Lay. To become a member and start down the pathway of your cycling career, visit to register. All potential athletes are offered a free one-month trial, so be sure to come out and give cycling a try!

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Dubnicoff Leads Cycling’s Next Generation

Tanya Dubnicoff is a Cycling World Champion, World Record Holder and three-time Olympian in addition to being an Olympic medal winning Cycling Coach. One of the most decorated cyclists in Canadian history, she now works with aspiring cyclists as the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary Cycling, Athlete Development Lead.

Coaching cycling programs from the development level all the way up to high performance athletes in the disciplines of road, track, mountain, cyclo-cross and para-cycling, Dubnicoff says that her program is unique because of the group atmosphere and appropriate stages of development for the sport, as well as the year round coached training environment. “We take the athletes’ entire well-being into account for their training and development.”

The new coaching position is the perfect fit for Dubnicoff. As an athlete, she moved from Winnipeg to Calgary in 1995 to become a member of the National Sports Centre, now the CSI Calgary. Recently starting as a coach at the CSI Calgary, Dubnicoff says that taking the position “felt like coming home, with the comforts of familiarity. There are so many people that make the Calgary training environment great, specifically the Olympic Oval and the CSI Calgary staff. This is something that people do not understand if you do not come from this training environment. There are a variety of talented individuals wanting to succeed and being provided with what they need. It is not like this anywhere else.”

Dubnicoff is particularly excited about the Cycling Development Program for youth aged seven to thirteen. Providing coaching to both able and disabled bodied cyclists, the program’s goal is to promote physical literacy while providing youth with cycling skills and awareness. The program is geared to working towards individual goals - to race or simply enjoy a ride with family and friends.

Overall, Dubnicoff is thrilled to be the face of an established cycling program, which has been strong since its inception in 1998. She raves, “Coaching at the CSI Calgary, I see the opportunity to continue to build on the strong cycling community. Athletes have so many more opportunities today. For example, top-secret training that was once reserved for the elite has now trickled down and is now being implemented as best training practices for our youth. It is fascinating to me, and there is so much potential. This excites me, this is my passion!”

For more information on the cycling programs visit


Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler

Lasting Partnership Proves Successful for Michael Sametz

CSICalgary MikeSametz-1465Calgary's Michael Sametz is looking towards the 2016 Paralympic Games. After his recent breakthrough winning both the Time Trial and the Road Race at the National Championships in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, the 18-year-old has every reason to be optimistic that he will be a part of the team representing Canada in Rio de Janeiro.

Sametz's success has been meaningful not only for himself as an athlete, but for his training program as a whole. As part of an identified talent group, Sametz, who is coached by Nick Jendzjowsky, is the first athlete to graduate on to the National Cycling Team. The timing could not be better, according to the program's founder Stephen Burke, who notes that the combination of funding and support from the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and Alberta Sport Development Centre (ASDC) "was a catalyst" to Sametz's success.

Burke's training group, the Calgary Cycling Centre based out of the Calgary Olympic Oval, is funded as a unique partnership between the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and the ASDC Calgary Region. Now entering into its fourth year, Sametz's success indicates that the system is beginning to flourish.

The partnership has combined the resources that each institution would have provided separately in order to create a program that is greater than the sum of its parts. Whereas typically the Canadian Sport Institute would be able to provide some sports science, nutrition, and sport psychology to athletes at the development level, when partnered with the ASDC's resources the programs have been able to increase the amount of support that the Calgary Cycling Centre's athletes receive in these areas.

Sametz is well aware of the benefits that the partnership program has created, believing that, "the funding and program set up access to the services like nutrition, anthro [sport science], and sport psychology. It has elevated my performance on and off the bike. Since meeting with [performance dietitian] Kelly Anne Erdman and [sport psychologist] Clare Fewster, the way I approach my training and racing has evolved."

Sametz's mother Ronda, could not agree more, saying, "The services Mike received and the relationships developed while at Calgary Cycling Centre were and continue to be extremely helpful in his cycling development."

The excitement surrounding the recent success of Sametz and the Calgary Cycling Centre is tangible. As Coach Burke proclaims, "Mike has a bright future," it is clear that the partnership between the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and the ASDC does as well.

Keep up to date with results from Michael and other cyclists by following the Canadian Sport Institute on Twitter and Facebook!

Stay in the loop!

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Les athlètes de l’ICSC en piste au vélodrome Glenmore

L’Institut canadien du sport de Calgary a conclu un nouveau partenariat avec le vélodrome Glenmore de Calgary. Les opérations quotidiennes de la piste extérieure de 400 m – incluant l’ouverture et la fermeture des installations, de même que la gestion des programmes et d’événements – seront maintenant assurées par l’ICSC. La tenue des championnats provinciaux d’Alberta est l’événement phare de la saison au vélodrome Glenmore. La piste reste en demande tout au long de l’année : des épreuves sanctionnées ont notamment lieu les mardis et les samedis soirs de printemps et d’été.

L’ICSC a conclu cette entente dans le but d’encourager l’entraînement multidisciplinaire de ses athlètes. L’entente accroît la possibilité d’entraînement de haut niveau au sein des installations de l’ICSC et offre aux athlètes l’accès aux vélos haute performance du vélodrome. Phil Abbott, entraîneur en cyclisme de l’ICSC et entraîneur-chef de l’Alberta Bicycle Association, est emballé par ce nouveau partenariat. À son avis, « il est important que le vélodrome soit géré de manière optimale. Le développement des athlètes en dépend et nous devons donc leur assurer un milieu d’entraînement de haute qualité. »

Le patineur de vitesse Philippe Riopel s’est entraîné des années durant sur piste de vélodrome pour renforcer son entraînement en patinage de vitesse. Son expérience dans le sport d’élite et sa connaissance intime du cyclisme sur piste lui ont valu le poste de gérant de piste de l’ICSC. Travaillant en collaboration avec l’ICSC et la Calgary Bicycle Track League (CBTL), M. Riopel assure les fonctions d’entraîneur, supervise les programmes et les courses et s’occupe de l’entretien des vélos. En tant qu’athlète de haut niveau, M. Riopel comprend parfaitement « l’objectif ultime du partenariat, qui est d’offrir une nouvelle option d’entraînement aux athlètes de Calgary et d’ailleurs. Le cyclisme sur piste est une discipline de choix pour l’entraînement multidisciplinaire : comme nous avons la chance d’avoir un vélodrome ici même à Calgary, nous voulons mettre un programme en place pour en tirer profit. »

L’ICSC a pris les rênes du vélodrome depuis peu, mais la CBTL, les athlètes de l’Institut et d’autres cyclistes ont déjà fait part de leurs commentaires enthousiastes. Un groupe de patineurs de vitesse supervisé par Xiuli Wang y a amorcé un entraînement par intervalles deux fois par semaine, tandis que Monique Sullivan, cycliste sur piste olympique, y a organisé une soirée de consolidation d’équipe pour ses commanditaires, aclaro softworks, inc.

L’entente établie entre l’ICSC et le vélodrome Glenmore est un nouvel exemple du sens de l’initiative de l’ICSC et de son remarquable effet d’entraînement sur les athlètes d’élite d’ici. L’ICSC espère que cette nouvelle initiative offrira aux athlètes de nouvelles façons de s’améliorer, de s’approcher toujours plus du podium ou de garder leur place au sommet de leur discipline.

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Rédigé par Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo de Dave Holland: @CSICalgaryPhoto

Un coureur du Centre de cyclisme de Calgary couronné champion national

Cycliste sur route professionnel et membre du Centre de cyclisme de Calgary (CCC) affilié à l’Institut canadien du sport de Calgary, Kristofer Dahl a fait une démonstration éclatante de son talent aux Championnats nationaux de cyclisme sur piste 2015, qui ont eu lieu au Centre de cyclisme national de Mattamy à Milton, en Ontario. Les championnats se sont tenus du 7 au 11 octobre 2015, un mois seulement après le Tour de l’Alberta auquel Kristofer a participé.

L’athlète avait amorcé sa carrière sur piste avant de se consacrer au cyclisme sur route. Afin d’évaluer son potentiel et de relever un défi, Kristofer a décidé de s’inscrire aux Championnats nationaux sur piste de cette année.

Il a été agréablement surpris par ses excellents résultats, terminant deuxième dans l’omnium et premier au contre-la-montre d’un kilomètre. Dans l’omnium, une épreuve olympique, Kristofer se mesurait aux membres actuels de l’équipe nationale et à des médaillés des Jeux panaméricains 2015, prouvant son statut de cycliste d’exception, autant sur piste que sur route. Ses performances lui vaudront assurément une invitation au camp d’entraînement de l’équipe nationale canadienne en novembre, où il recevra un entraînement spécialisé sur piste.

Perfectionniste dans toutes les sphères de sa vie, Kristofer connaît aussi du succès hors de la piste. Étudiant en génie à l’Université de Calgary, l’athlète de 23 ans parvient à concilier la vie sur les bancs d’école et sa carrière cycliste. De plus, Kristofer s’implique activement dans le programme du CCC, où il supervise l’entraînement de jeunes athlètes trois jours par semaine.

Cette implication est extrêmement importante aux yeux du cycliste : « J’étais le plus jeune du groupe quand j’ai commencé au CCC, et j’ai fait mon chemin. Maintenant que je suis un diplômé du programme, j’ai pris le relais. C’est une merveilleuse façon pour moi de redonner au CCC. Quand j’étais plus jeune, les cyclistes expérimentés me servaient de modèles; c’est très important pour moi de servir à mon tour d’exemple pour les plus jeunes. J’aime beaucoup leur montrer ce qu’ils peuvent accomplir, autant comme cycliste qu’en tant qu’entraîneur. »

Philippe Abbott, l’entraîneur de Kristofer et entraîneur-chef du CCC, souligne avec enthousiasme l’éthique de travail de son protégé : « Kris est un exemple fantastique pour tous les jeunes athlètes qui s’intègrent à notre programme. Il prouve qu’il est possible de concilier les études et l’entraînement et d’obtenir du succès en cyclisme. »

Bien que son emploi du temps soit particulièrement chargé, Kristofer veut obtenir son baccalauréat dans moins de deux ans afin de pouvoir se consacrer pleinement à sa carrière cycliste. « Mon objectif principal en cyclisme sur route est une carrière professionnelle. Sur piste, j’ai de bonnes chances de pouvoir participer aux Jeux olympiques. L’objectif ultime est donc Tokyo 2020. »

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary

Rédigé par Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler

Photo de Dave Holland: @CSICalgaryPhoto

Velodrome Cycling Thrills Newcomers and Veterans

Fixed gear. Banked turns. No brakes. High speed. Sound crazy? For two-time World Track Cycling Championship medalist, Allison Beveridge, the rush of the track is hard to beat. Her favourite part is going fast. “The thrill of riding the track never really wears off no matter how many times you’re on it or how old you get.” Young, fledgling cyclist, Ryder Knoll, 11, shares the same thrill. Of the first occasion he tried the track, he says, “It was really fun and a little scary because I had never tried it before. I was scared that I might crash.”

Both Beveridge and Knoll have had the opportunity to hone their skills at the Calgary Velodrome. Beveridge says, “Local tracks allow individuals to start training and gain racing experience from a young age. The tactical and technical skills I learned when I was younger have proved to be a big asset to me over the years.”

Recently however, the Calgary Bicycle Track League (CBTL) has struggled to find qualified staff to run its programs. To help fill this void, CSI Calgary cycling coach Phil Abbott spearheaded a unique and innovative collaboration between the CSI Calgary and the CBTL.

Today, the CSI Calgary provides a pool of staff to run the track and CBTL programming. The goal is to put high quality coaches in place to ensure effective program delivery and athlete development, and to increase participation in the sport. Adds Abbott, “One of the key things necessary to effectively develop track cyclists is for the velodrome to be functioning to its capacity and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Program manager, former national team speed skater, Phil Riopel, wears many hats around the track – equal parts coach, race director and maintenance crew. He describes the experience of a young girl who came to try the track last summer, “At first, she was scared and intimidated. She started on the apron (flat infield), then very slowly went up onto the track. After half an hour or so I looked away for maybe two minutes, and next thing I see is this girl up on the rail at the top of the track, coming down the bank. She had a huge smile on her face and yelled, ‘This is awesome!’”

The next step is encouraging new riders to return and learn the sport. For Knoll, the hardest part is stopping as there are no brakes on a track bike. But he’s working hard on that and other things like, “strategy, getting fitter and learning a lot of new skills”, precisely the kinds of things Abbott is looking for. “We can’t assume that talented 19 year-old cyclists will just show up on our doorstep. We said, let’s look deep down at the athlete development model and see what we can do. We don’t want to leave anything to chance.”

Knoll’s father, Mark, himself a former speed skater and Olympian, is enthusiastic about his son’s new sport. “We thought it would be a great thing to try and for him to develop his skills on a bike. He has really taken a shine to the sport, and likes the chance to meet new friends and race his awesome bike when he can.”

Thanks to this new and symbiotic relationship between the CSI Calgary and CBTL, there is now a place and opportunity for young riders like Ryder to develop alongside some of the best track cyclists in the world, like Allison Beveridge. And what advice does he have for new riders? “I would tell them to try it the first chance they get because it is really, really fun.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

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