Steve Bauer’s Spider Tech team pulled off the team’s biggest win of the season so far with victory in the cult 206.4 kilometre UCi 1.1 Tro-Bro Léon in Brittany by Ryan Roth.

But the race is held on the same day as the Amstel Gold so the result often ‘falls down the cracks’ – but not at VeloVeritas and we decided a chat with the vainquer would be interesting.

The team’s Will Routley was second to Vincent Jerome (France & Europcar) in the 2011 edition but Ryan Roth went one better this year to land the top spot on the podium.

The 29 year old from Kitchener, Ontario caught Eric Berthou (Bretagne-Schuller) – who had looked to be a winning solo charge – and then rode on alone to finish 13 seconds clear of Benoît Jarrier (Véranda Rideau-Super U).

The race features 25 sectors of dirt and/or cobbled farm tracks totaling 30 kilometres, causing it to be nick named the ‘Hell of the West’ or ‘The Little Paris-Roubaix.’

Roth started off as cyclo-cross rider, winning the Canadian junior national championship in 2000.

He turned full pro with Kelly Benefits for season 2007 but since 2008 has ridden in the colours of Steve Bauer’s various teams.

His palmares are mainly North American, with the highlight being victory in last year’s prestigious Univest GP; but he did take a stage in the 2010 Vuelta a Cuba.

We caught up with him just after his arrival in Turkey for that nation’s Presidential Tour, the team’s next target.

Ryan, centre, on the podium after winning the Tro-Bro Léon in France on April 15. On the left is runner-up Benoit Jarier (Veranda Rideau - Super U) and on the right is third-place finisher Guillaume Boivin.

The Tro-Bro Léon, did Spider Tech do a ‘try out’ ride on the dirt sectors before the race?

“We managed to ride two of the early sections on our ride the day before the race, but it was just what we could hit from the hotel.

“We raced Paris Camembert and GP Denain that week, travelled on Friday and just had Saturday to relax.
So no, there was no planned, formal check out of the course.

“Will Routly (second last year) had his experience to help us and I was there as well in 2011, but not racing as I was injured just before.”

What was the team game plan for the day?

“The initial plan had me and few other guys being attentive at the start for early breakaways, and the others just staying out of trouble and waiting for the race to really start in the last 50km or so.

“Then in the morning we saw that it was very windy and kind of changed the plan as we thought that the race would be from the gun and we would all have to be up there as the race could be splitting early and often.”

Tell us about the parcours, there are obviously the farm roads but, I believe it’s a very scenic race?

“Yeah, there are certainly some nice views along the coast and stuff, but I saw a lot more of that last year in the car than this year.”

Is it well supported – are there big crowds out?

“There was a good crowd for sure on the finishing circuit and out on the final dirt sections.

“Usually in Brittany there are lots of people at any race and they all seem to know you or have a picture of you to sign.”

Did you ride any special equipment – which tyres were you on?

“We pretty much went with a standard set-up.

“Nothing too different, similar to what you would ride in a race like Dwars Door Vlaanderen or other Belgian races like that.

“Each guy kind of picks out their own tire pressures and wheels.

“We have a nice selection from Shimano, but I think for this race everybody had their C35’s on.”

Talk us through your race, please.

“The first 150km was mostly just staying out of trouble, being in front for the earlier dirt sections and saving energy for the final. I think we did a good job of this as a team as we had Guillaume (sprinter Guillaume Boivin, who was eventual third, ed.), Will and I still in good shape for the last 12 dirt sections which come very fast in succession.

“At this point, I was just staying attentive to any splits and groups going away. Will ended up going up the road in a nice move while I was just behind.

“I thought this was ideal, as I could sit back and maybe get an easy ride for a bit. However, a lot of guys seemed dead at this point, and when a Bretange Schuller guy attacked I followed shortly after and we both ended up bridging to the break.

“Berthou went from there, straight past Jarrier. I was in the middle and chasing the rest of the way, until it came back on the last lap.”

Ryan enjoying the best type of win - a solo victory.

It looked as if Berthou had it won, for a while?

“Yeah, for sure.

“I think a lot were thinking that, including myself, but we kept a good tempo behind and he must have been having some difficulty the last 5-10km as the gap came down very fast at that point.”

You dropped Jarrier in the finale.

“We caught up to Berthou together on the final dirt section.

“I kind of just accelerated by them as hard as I could, coming out of it and got a gap right away that I held until the end.

“Up until that point I had been doing most of the work as Jarrier had been in the break all day and I was not so concerned about whether or not I was second or third. I just wanted to make sure we stayed in front.”

The margin on the line was 37 seconds – were you worried?

“Once I saw that we starting to come back on Berthou, I kind of forgot about what was going on behind.
We didn’t get much information on time checks, so I just kept focused on what I could see.”

Was it a ‘super’ day for you or just that you got the tactics right?

“I wouldn’t say it was a “super” day.

“I had good sensations, made sure to stay on top of eating and drinking enough in the race and just used my energy at the right moments.”

Ryan and Guillaume Boivin eye up the trophy, on the podium at Tro-Bro Léon.

Your ‘cross/VTT background must have helped?

“My start in cycling was via mountain bike and cyclo-cross before I ever did any road, but since then I have done very little of that, so perhaps it was of some help, but more useful I think, is having done races like Battenkill, where you are on dirt on a road bike.”

What’s the appeal of races like the Tro Bro and Battenkill?

“I think the appeal is down to the uniqueness but also, because people tend to really enjoy the “hard man” days every now and again, so it’s a bit different feeling than your average road race.”

You’ve been racing solid since February – Andalucía, West Flanders, Coppi Bartali, De Panne; you must be starting to feel a little tired?

“I was pretty dead after the Bartali/De Panne combo, so I took it really easy after that basically until Paris Camembert.

“So 11 days with only the Scheldeprijs and maybe one other day of harder training. I think that was important as I started to come around at Camembert, felt well in Denain and then again on Sunday for Tro Bro.

“Now I have Turkey and then I go back home to Canada. I will probably use that week to recover some more and see what my next races will be.”

Ryan tackles a gravel section on his way to victory.

Your form in individual time trials has been very good – is that something you’ve been working on?

“To be honest, not really.

“I think Argon has gone out and made their TT bikes faster again, so that has something to do with it.

“But really I have not spent as much time as other years on the TT bike. What I think has helped, is that I have been trying not to over think the TT’s too much.

“Just basically go out there and bash yourself and if it feels like you are going fast, then you probably are.”

I see you rode the Scheldeprijs – by all accounts it was pretty crazy?

“When the rain started to come down, it certainly became a bit dicier.

“I really wanted to be up front and help our sprinters be well positioned, but at the same time, there were a lot of guys on the ground, so you start to take fewer risks.”

Spider Tech 2012 – how much different from 2011?

“A little different – but I think for the better.

“We are all a little stronger and better prepared to race over here.

“I’ve been on the team now since 2008 and things are better every year and we coming along step by step and hopefully will continue to do so in the future.”

The Tour of Turkey – what’s the Spider Tech plan?

“Well I only got here at 3am this morning (21st) so the immediate plan is just to recover! I think the plan will definitely be to go for stage wins.

“There are a lot of sprinters here, and we have some too, so any days ending in bunch sprints, we want to be up there.

“I don’t think we will have much going on, on the GC side of things, so once that is a bit clearer – and we can also try to win a stage from breaks.”

With thanks to Team SpiderTech for the use of the images.

Result - Tro-Bro Léon 2012

Full Result

1 Ryan Roth (Can) Team Spidertech Powered by C10 5:16:40
2 Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Veranda Rideau – Super U 0:00:13
3 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Team Spidertech Powered by C10 0:00:37
4 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
5 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
8 Jérémie Galland (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
9 Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
10 Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar
11 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
12 Eric Berthou (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
13 Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
14 Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
15 Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
16 Laurent Pichon (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
17 Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Auber 93
18 Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team Type 1 – Sanofi
19 Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Auber 93
20 Gaël Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
21 Mathieu Halleguen (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
22 Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing
23 Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
24 Maxime Le Montagner (Fra) Veranda Rideau – Super U
25 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
26 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) Team Type 1 – Sanofi
27 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
28 Renaud Dion (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
29 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:55
30 Will Routley (Can) Team Spidertech Powered by C10 0:00:56
31 Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) La Pomme-Marseille 0:01:37
32 Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:02:06
33 Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:02:19
34 Benoit Drujon (Fra) Auber 93
35 Said Haddou (Fra) Team Europcar
36 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
37 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
38 Johan Le Bon (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
39 Arnaud Molmy (Fra) Veranda Rideau – Super U
40 Jean Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
41 Hugo Houle (Can) Team Spidertech Powered by C10
42 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Auber 93
43 Rafaâ Chtioui (Tun) Team Europcar
44 Martin Gilbert (Can) Team Spidertech Powered by C10 0:02:24
45 Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
46 Remi Cusin (Fra) Team Type 1 – Sanofi
47 Martin Mortensen (Den) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
48 Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:03:21
49 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
50 Clément Koretzky (Fra) La Pomme-Marseille
51 Rene Mandri (Est) Endura Racing
52 Mickael Olejnik (Pol) Veranda Rideau – Super U
53 Lazlo Bodrogi (Fra) Team Type 1 – Sanofi 0:04:23
54 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) GEOFCO-Ville d’Alger 0:05:31
55 Clinton Avery (NZl) Champion System Pro Cycling Team
56 Kevin Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
57 Gaylord Cumont (Fra) Veranda Rideau – Super U
58 Franck Vermeulen (Fra) Veranda Rideau – Super U
59 Loic Desriac (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
60 Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team Europcar
61 Egoitz García Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
62 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:05:35
63 Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme-Marseille 0:06:34
64 Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) La Pomme-Marseille 0:07:50
65 Mathieu Delaroziere (Fra) La Pomme-Marseille 0:09:14
66 Rikke Dijkxhoorn (Ned) GEOFCO-Ville d’Alger
67 Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) GEOFCO-Ville d’Alger
DNF Joeri Bueken (Fra) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
DNF Gorik Gardeyn (Fra) Champion System Pro Cycling Team
DNF Leonardo Duque (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
DNF Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
DNF Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
DNF Joris Boillat (Fra) Champion System Pro Cycling Team
DNF Anuar Manan (Rus) Champion System Pro Cycling Team
DNF Mauricio Frazer (Fra) Start Cycling Team – Atacama Flowery Desert
DNF Thomas Vaubourzeix (Fra) La Pomme-Marseille
DNF Romain Matheou (Blr) Veranda Rideau – Super U
DNF Ibon Zugasti Arrese (Pol) Start Cycling Team – Atacama Flowery Desert
DNF Nicolae Tanovitchii (Ita) Start Cycling Team – Atacama Flowery Desert
DNF Manuel Miranda Vergara (Ned) Start Cycling Team – Atacama Flowery Desert
DNF Henryk Cardoen (Col) GEOFCO-Ville d’Alger
DNF Tomas Enrique Gil (Fra) Start Cycling Team – Atacama Flowery Desert
DNF James Spragg (Fra) GEOFCO-Ville d’Alger
DNF Boris Zimine (Swi) Roubaix Lille Metropole
DNF Fabien Schmidt (Mas) Roubaix Lille Metropole
DNF Florian Le Corre (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
DNF Denis Flahaut (Chn) Roubaix Lille Metropole
DNF Anthony Colin (Est) Roubaix Lille Metropole
DNF Frédéric Amorison (HKg) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
DNF Ruben Menendez Velasco (HKg) Start Cycling Team – Atacama Flowery Desert
DNF Jimmy Casper (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
DNF Mirko Selvaggi (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNF Jacek Morajko (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNF Yauheni Hutarovich (Bel) FDJ-Big Mat
DNF David Boucher (Bel) FDJ-Big Mat
DNF Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNF Tomasz Olejnik (Fra) Veranda Rideau – Super U
DNF Sylvain Georges (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNF Toms Skujins (Fra) La Pomme-Marseille
DNF Yohann Gené (Fra) Team Europcar
DNF Jérôme Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar
DNF Mathieu Claude (USA) Team Europcar
DNF Sébastien Chavanel (Can) Team Europcar
DNF Jack Tanner (Can) GEOFCO-Ville d’Alger
DNF Mikael Stilite (Ita) GEOFCO-Ville d’Alger
DNF Boris Shpilevsky (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
DNF Baptiste Planckaert (Rus) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
DNF Matthieu Boulo (Ned) Roubaix Lille Metropole
DNF Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
DNF Jean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
DNF Rony Martias (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
DNF Laurent Mangel (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
DNF Kevin Lacombe (GBr) Team Spidertech Powered by C10
DNF Christophe Laborie (GBr) Saur – Sojasun
DNF Simon Lambert Lemay (GBr) Team Spidertech Powered by C10
DNF Kevin Claeys (GBr) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
DNF Barry Markus (Aus) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNF Gilles Devillers (Fra) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
DNF Kin San Wu (Lat) Champion System Pro Cycling Team
DNF Steven Wong (Fra) Champion System Pro Cycling Team
DNF Mart Ojavee (Fra) Champion System Pro Cycling Team
DNF David Le Lay (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
DNF Johan Mombaerts (Fra) Auber 93
DNF Yohan Cauquil (Fra) La Pomme-Marseille
DNF Dean Windsor (Fra) Endura Racing
DNF Ian Wilkinson (Fra) Endura Racing
DNF Robert Partridge (Arg) Endura Racing
DNF Jonathan Mcevoy (Arg) Endura Racing
DNF Jonathan Patrick Mccarty (Spa) Team Spidertech Powered by C10
DNF Ronan Racault (Chi) Auber 93
DNF Kun Jiang (Mda) Champion System Pro Cycling Team
DNF Flavien Dassonville (Spa) Auber 93
DNF Nicolas Rousseau (Fra) Auber 93
DNF Martijn Verschoor (Pol) Team Type 1 – Sanofi
DNF Alexander Serebryakov (Bel) Team Type 1 – Sanofi
DNF Aldo Ino Ilesic (GBr) Team Type 1 – Sanofi
DNF Filippo Fortin (Bel) Team Type 1 – Sanofi
DNF Scott Thwaites (Bel) Endura Racing