November 2018: in search of a new team for the 2019 season, Élise Piédalue decides to bring a dream to life that she was having for a long time as she launches her own female cycling team. The goal? To create a team with a true family spirit and contribute to the development of women's cycling in Québec. Nearly 4 years down the road, l’Équipe Cycliste Féminine (ECF), has grown to a solid and well performing team of 23 athletes in Québec. Despite over one year without racing events due to the Covid pandemic, the team has managed to take 20 podium spots in races across Québec. In September this year, the team even crowned Camille Desrochers-Laflamme to Quebec Road Champion in the Women Elites after a great team performance. The team is gaining popularity in the region and is now divided into a competition team, a development team and sportive team – all contributing to the development of women’s cycling. We sat down with Elise to look back at the results of 2022 and discuss the team’s ambition for the future.
LOOKING BACK AND FORTH
“My personal highlight of this year was the team synergy at the Preston Crit in Ottawa. Sometimes you ride races where everything goes perfectly. The Preston Crit was one of them, as we were able to execute our team strategy in detail altogether. We weren’t even supposed to go to this race, but because another race was canceled last minute we decided to drive up to Ottawa. For me, the basis of our success at the Quebec Road Championship was laid out here: it was the team atmosphere and mentality that made the difference to take the win home. I’m proud to have contributed to that, even though I didn’t ride myself that day.
Next year, the challenge will be even bigger. For the first time we’re going to the Canadian National Championships in Alberta & we’ll be riding some important races in the US. It actually gives me goosebumps to think that our jersey will be seen outside of Québec at big races! We don’t really have high expectations here, we’ve told ourselves that it’ll be all about learning first and foremost. We want to allow our racers to experience different circumstances than the ones in Québec: the setup will be different, the competition races in another way & the level will be much higher. We might have a chance in the U23 section with Victoria Dupont and also with Allyson Webb-Charland and Élissa Proulx, who are coming back from racing in Europe. For what concerns Québec, I’m really looking forward to riding the Mardi Lachine races in Montréal again. Each Tuesday for 10 weeks, we’ll be competing with the best riders in the region and show them what we got. The event didn’t take place in 2022 so I hope they’ll be back now for a definite time.
Another big objective is to expand the influence of our team on women’s cycling. Next to physically supporting women within a team structure, ECF also contributes to the development of women’s sports. Each year we have a ‘journée découverte du cyclisme au primaire’: on that day we pay a visit to young girls in schools and take them on the cycling path to ride with us, discover what biking is all about and fall in love with it.”
As you can tell, it’s quite the list of initiatives for this year and the ECF relies heavily on the help of its suppliers and sponsors in making the team successful. Bioracer will be offering the new ECF x Bioracer Collection on the Bioracer website as well to support the team. Between the 10th and 14th of December you’ll be able to order a jersey and even select some accessories of the 2023 Bioracer collection with it.
THE 2023 TEAM KIT
“For the third season in a row, we’ve chosen to work with Bioracer as the clothing supplier for our team. We want the design of the jersey to evolve each year, but this year we’ve changed things up drastically. We worked with Yvan Côté, a very talented designer who revamped our team branding and changed our logo. The result is a totally different and funkier outfit compared to previous year & we received very nice feedback already! We are launching 3 different jersey designs: the more expressive and principal design is part of our Moments Collection, where we want to inspire people to go and live their lives & be inspired along the way. The designs of our other 2 jerseys allow people to enjoy riding with ECF in more sober yet very contemporary colors as well.
As we’ve been working with Bioracer for multiple years now, we knew exactly what to expect and when. All along we’ve taken a solid 6 weeks between our first contact and the final delivery of our kit, which had a tight deadline because all of our photoshoots were already planned for the end of November. Even in this short time frame, we were able to receive a sample test before production, which really helped us to give feedback and being sure the result would be as we required. We’re super happy with the quality of our jerseys and bib shorts, the design comes out exactly as we wished for.”