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Bessette plans something different for 2005

Canadian Lyne Bessette says she wants to relax and experiment a little as she tries her hand at mountain-bike racing and cyclo-cross as a supplement to a “scaled back” road schedule this season. The first sign of Bessette’s new approach is the way she plans to kick off her racing schedule this year. “My first race of the year will be the NORBA national in (Comfort) Texas on March 5,” the 29-year-old Bessette told VeloNews. “Starting my year off like that is something I’ve never done before.” Bessette said she'll also take a stab at racing the cross-country events at this year's Sea

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Canadian Lyne Bessette says she wants to relax and experiment a little as she tries her hand at mountain-bike racing and cyclo-cross as a supplement to a “scaled back” road schedule this season.

The first sign of Bessette’s new approach is the way she plans to kick off her racing schedule this year.

“My first race of the year will be the NORBA national in (Comfort) Texas on March 5,” the 29-year-old Bessette told VeloNews. “Starting my year off like that is something I’ve never done before.”

Bessette said she’ll also take a stab at racing the cross-country events at this year’s Sea Otter Classic (April 14-17) in Monterey, California.

Bessette said she began to think about taking a different approach to 2005 after a somewhat disappointing ride at the Athens Olympics.

“I was at the beach after the Olympics and I told my agent that I wanted to do something different, just for this season,” she said.

Part of that change includes her decision to end an eight-year run of racing on teams managed by Tom Schuler’s Team Sports, Inc.

“I was up to renew my contract with Quark and I was coming into the end of January and didn’t really want to do another year of the same thing,” she said. “Tom was very supportive and he understands that I need to try something new. Tom has always been supportive – I’ve been eight years with the same teams, whether it was Saturn or Quark, they were all Tom’s programs.”

Instead, Bessette has cobbled together a mix of sponsors – including Equibar, Energy Cardio, a chain of gyms based in Québec, Mavic, Louis Garneau and Oakley – which will allow her to try new events and not stay tied to a specific schedule.

“They are the ones that will make this year possible,” she said.

“I’m not giving up on the road,” she added. “I’ll be at the World Cup in Montréal, I may do the women’s Tour de France (the Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale) and I am available to ride on the Canadian national team when they need an experienced rider to help out some of the newer girls.”

Bessette noted that she intends to cap off her year with another stab at cyclo-cross.

“I want to be competitive at the international level, if I can,” she said.

Bessette was introduced to the discipline in 2001 by her then-fiancé Tim Johnson. She went as far as winning the women’s race at the Grand Prix de France in Nommay in 2002.

Now married, she and Johnson are both intent upon returning to ‘cross this coming fall.

But after a season of experimentation, Bessette said she intends to return to a heavy schedule of road racing, her main focus, in 2006 and beyond.

“My goal is to go into the next Olympics,” she said. “This schedule is definitely just for this year. It’s something I want to try – and I do mean try – since I have I have the flexibility to do it. I think a year like this will give me more energy and motivation than if I just did the same thing over and over again each year.”