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Evans Joins H&R Block, Accent Inns/Russ Hay’s Cycling Team to Not Continue for 2017

Today it was announced that Accent Inns/Russ Hays Cycling Team member, Oliver Evans, has joined the H&R Block Pro Cycling Team for the 2017 cycling season.  “No one deserves this opportunity more than Oliver,” says General Manager, Jon Watkin. “He has proven himself time and time again that he can race with the best and that he has grit and character to achieve a long and rewarding cycling career.”

Oliver first joined the team in 2015 alongside his compatriot, Danick Vandale after each having won their respective age group National Cyclocross championship titles in 2014.  Jon Watkin credits Manitoba Team coach, Jayson Gillespie for convincing him to take leap of faith to support some young up-and-coming racers from the prairies.   This included offering a guest-riding opportunity for Chris Prendergast.  Both Danick and Chris eventually transitioned to H&R Block Pro Cycling afterwards.

Oliver had a breakthrough year in 2016 by finishing on the podium in key cycling Elite Cat 1/2 events in BC and the USA Pacific Northwest, all while racing in junior gears.  These included:

  • 2nd Place Jeremy’s Roubaix
  • 2nd Place Tour of Walla Walla Overall GC
  • 2nd Place Tour de Bloom Overall GC (Winner of Stage 2)
  • 1st Place Hayman Cycling Classic Overall GC (Winner of Stage 1, 2, 3)
  • 15th in the Tour de White Rock Men’s Elite Pro/Am race.

The news comes with the sad announcement that the Accent Inns/Russ Hays Cycling Team will not be continuing for 2017.   “We’ve had an amazing 4 year run and achieved successes that some pro teams would be happy with.” explains Jon Watkin, “However with my new role at Bear Mountain, I will be putting my energies towards new exciting opportunities and cycling projects.”

Earlier this year, Jon Watkin accepted a new position as the Cycling Manager of the Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria BC.   The site is the official National Cycling Center for the Canadian National Mountain Bike Team and is the host of the Bear Mountain Canada Cup event in its 2nd year, which is scheduled for March 4-5, 2017.   Bear Mountain is also a proud sponsor of the Tripleshot Cycling Club and provides financial/equipment support to Junior National Road/Track Cycling Champion, Erin Attwell, and BC Junior MTB Champion, Max McCulloch.

Since 2012, the Accent Inns/Russ Hays Cycling Team has charted an impressive course and became a Nationally-recognized for achieving big results and helping to move the careers of some of Canada’s top elite athletes.   Here is a list of key achievements:

  • 2013 Canadian National Cycling Champion (Elite Men Time Trial ) – Curtis Dearden
  • 2014 UCI Pro Sprint Challenge Quebec City – Cody Canning
  • 2014 Canadian National Sprint Challenge Champion – Cody Canning
  • 2015 BC Provincial Criterium Champion – Cody Canning
  • 2015 BC Provincial Time Trial Champion – Curtis Dearden
  • 2016 BC Premier Series Overall Winner – Isaac Leblanc
  • 2016 BC Provincial Criterium Champion – Cody Canning
  • 2016 BC Provincial Road Cycling Champion – Isaac Leblanc
  • 2016 Mutual of Enumclaw Overall GC 1st – Isaac Leblanc
  • 2016 Canadian Junior National Criterium Champion – Kurt Penno
  • 2016 Tour de Bowness Overall GC 1st – Amiel Flett-Brown
  • 2016 Hayman Cycling Classic Overall GC 1st – Oliver Evans

Alumni who have moved on to Pro Teams or been part of National Team:

  • Oliver Evans – H&R Block Pro Cycling, Canadian National Cyclocross Team
  • Danick Vandale – H&R Block Pro Cycling,  Canadian National Cyclocross Team
  • Chris Prendergast – H&R Block Pro Cycling
  • Jordan Cheyne – Jelly Belly Pro Cycling
  • Evan Carey – Canadian National Track Team
  • Cody Canning – Team Canada / Tour of Alberta Team

“I want to especially acknowledge the support of Russ Hay’s Owners, Martin and Mike Clermont, as well as Accent Inns Manager, John Espley for putting their faith in me these last 4 years and for helping to create some amazing success stories,”  says Jon Watkin  “Without their sponsorship support, we would not have been able to achieve this success.”

For more info, contact:

Jon Watkin

General Manager

Accent Inns / Russ Hay’s the Bicycle Shop p/b Champion System Cycling Team