Magdeleine Vallieres Mill is one of eight members of the WCC team competing in events on the 2021 international calendar. The Canadian comes from the popular cycling town of Sherbrooke, Que., Where she developed into the junior ranks in cycling. road, cyclo-cross and mountain. She competed in the junior girls category at two world championships before representing her nation in the elite ranks for the first time at the 2020 Worlds in Imola.
The WCC team was formed from the larger program that has supported athletes around the world for almost two decades. It offers athletes the opportunity to learn and excel in the five Olympic disciplines of road cycling, track cycling, BMX Racing, BMX Freestyle and mountain biking, while developing cycling locally and internationally.
In its early days as a club, the women’s road team upgraded to a continental license in 2019 and is primarily used as a launching pad in the professional ranks. This year’s list also includes Amha Selam (Ethiopia), Fatima Zahra el Hayani (Morocco), Akvile Gedraityte (Lithuania), Veronika Jandová (Czech Republic), Desiet Kidane (Eritrea), Anastasiya Kolesava (Belarus) and Tereza Medvedova (Slovakia) ).
In a Q&A series, Cyclingnews will feature some of the program’s newest and existing members as they develop in their respective disciplines – road, track, mountain biking and BMX – and pursue their Olympic dreams.
Cycling news: You moved from Quebec, Canada to Switzerland. How did this move to the headquarters of the World Cycling Center go?
Moulin de Magdeleine Vallières: Yes, I live in Switzerland now in the center. I arrived here during the winter, in February, and it was cold then, but much warmer than at home. Now it’s hot and we got to ride in shorts so that’s really awesome.
CN: Can you tell us about your hometown of Sherbrooke in Quebec and your beginnings in cycling?
MVM: I started cycling with my dad when I was nine years old. We did tours with bags on our bikes. We did a trip of about 900 km in nine days, and that’s how I fell in love with the sport. Once in high school, I entered a sports program and that’s where I had the chance to try out road, mountain biking, cyclo-cross and BMX.
CN: Cycling is very popular in Sherbrooke, and in Quebec, where there is a lot of enthusiasm for the sport. Did this play a role in your participation in cycling?
MVM: Cycling is an important sport in Quebec and we have a great federation with great support and a lot of races and clubs, even for young riders, which was nice. I also have a good community in my town, with four or five mountain bike clubs for mountain biking, BMX, track and road.
CN: In how many cycling disciplines do you compete?
MVM: I only race on the road at the moment but when I was younger, and as a junior until 2019, I also did cyclocross and mountain biking. I participated in the world championships in all three disciplines when I was a junior. Now my focus is on road racing.
CN: Is the WCC your first international team?
MVM: Yes, I joined the WCC team last year, so this is my second year with this program, but due to COVID-19, this is my first season competing in Europe.
CN: How did you become connected with the WCC team?
MVM: Cycling Canada wrote to me to see if I would like to apply and send my resume to the CMC program. I was chosen among the candidates to join the talent identification camp in Switzerland in November 2019. I stayed a week where we did some tests with the Wattbike, in the time trial, endurance and climb tests. I passed the climbing test well and they gave me a place in the program.
CN: What do they offer you as part of the program?
MVM: I can live here all season. We all live in the residence on the same floor, each in their own room. We run all over Europe. Last year we didn’t run a lot, just a few races, because of COVID-19. This year we are doing a lot more races. I have access to a bike, a mechanic, a coach and everything I need to ride a bike.
CN: What happened with the program last year due to COVID-19?
MVM: I arrived last year and we did a training camp and then we did three races in Belgium. COVID-19 happened and they sent us all home. I came back in August to do a few more errands.
CN: What did you learn in your first year on the team?
MVM: I learned a lot. It was my first time racing in Europe on the road with the elite women, and it was a big step. Being in the peloton was very different, and there were so many people in the peloton, whereas at home there are very small packs. Everyone was so strong too. I have learned to live with my teammates all season and to train properly.
CN: Has the team changed this year?
MVM: It has changed a bit, but we have five of the same riders as last year. It’s going very well this year. We have a new coach and we are all learning. It’s fun and I love spending time with my teammates.
CN: Can you tell us more about your membership in such an international team?
MVM: It’s a great team and I learned a lot from all my teammates who are from other nations. It gives me the chance to be where I’m from. My teammates are very nice and I like to discover their cultures and life in their countries. We are all very happy to have the chance to be here and pursue our cycling dreams.
CN: What does the WCC team hope to accomplish this year?
MVM: We all want to learn from the races and take the next step to sign with a professional team over the next few years. We all also want to learn from each other, from other nations, and have fun too. We’re a good group and it’s nice to be together to train and run.
CN: Will the program help you find a professional contract?
MVM: The goal is to teach us as much as possible about cycling, training and running, and to help us become as strong as possible, so that we can get noticed by other teams. They help us in contacts with professional teams.
CN: What races will you be doing this year?
MVM: The calendar is constantly changing and we are not supposed to be doing WorldTour races because we are not high enough in the leaderboard for invitations. I will be doing some of the lower level races in Europe. If I can make the selection, I also hope to participate in the world championships.
About the World Cycling Center program
Home to the headquarters of the International Cycling Union (UCI), the UCI World Cycling Center (WCC) is an elite training and training center in Aigle, Switzerland. Opened in 2002, the UCI CMC welcomes each year more than 150 young men and women in the Olympic cycling disciplines of road, track cycling, BMX Racing, BMX Freestyle and mountain biking.
These athletes arrive at the UCI CMC after an in-depth talent identification process carried out in collaboration with the five UCI continental confederations. Since 2004, UCI CMC trainees have won 23 Olympic medals: three gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze during or after their visit to Aigle. In addition, there are more than 70 podiums in the UCI World Championship, including 41 UCI World Champion titles in the various disciplines and categories.
In addition to the detection, supervision and training of elite athletes, the UCI CMC provides training for the various cycling professions: coaches, sports directors, mechanics and trainers.