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By VeloNews Interactive
The directors of the Webcor cycling team announced Thursday that they had signed sprinter Charles Dionne for 2004.
“We are thrilled to have Charles aboard,” said team director Frank Scioscia. “Dionne is unique in his ability to be a fast finisher in criteriums as well as a powerhouse in incredibly difficult road races like the San Francisco Grand Prix. He will be a significant part of the formula for creating a winning team.”
Dionne’s breakout 2002 season included a solid win at the San Francisco Grand Prix by outsprinting a small breakaway group that included several seasoned European pros, most notably Lance Armstrong.
Dionne, who turned in what VeloNews rated as 2002’s “North American Ride of the Year,” saw his 2003 campaign hampered by crashes and injuries. Nevertheless, he took first place at the CapTech Classic and a stage at the Redlands Bicycle Classic—which he rode in support of his then Saturn teammate, Chris Horner.
Dionne is enthusiastic about his team’s prospects for the upcoming season, as well.
“This team is going to do some damage in every race we enter. I didn’t expect to sign with Webcor, but when Chris called to encourage me to join, I jumped at the chance,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a great season. Plus, it’s an Olympic year, and hopefully we’re going to put a couple of guys in the Olympics, which is definitely a goal of mine.”
“We see Horner, [Spanish pro] Imanol Ayestaran, and now Dionne helping to develop not only our second year pros, but some of our young riders such as Justin England, Ben Haldeman, and Ben Stafford,” said manager/rider, Ted Huang.
The team’s title sponsor, Webcor Builders, has evolved from a local club sponsor to one of the biggest supporters of cycling on the West Coast and now into a major supporter of cycling at the national level.