François Parisien started racing his bike 14 years ago, and at the age of 19, he decided to head to Europe, leaving Canada in order to live out the dream and try to make it to the pro ranks. He raced for many years with French amateur squads and won the Canadian Road National Championship in 2005. After a stellar season in 2005, he joined TIAA-CREF. But the year 2007, with Slipstream was marred with knee problems and Parisien was forced to cut short his season.
In 2008, the 25-year old returned to the North American racing scene with a new team Symmetrics and is healthy and hungry to race again.
He showed good form at the Redlands Classic race in March where he was in third place overall going into the final stage, the Sunset Road. The team knew that it was possible that he could jump up into second, so 10km into the race, with speed ramping up, teammates Eric Wolhberg and Andrew Pinfold started to lead out Parisien for a time bonus sprint, when a rider moved right in on the leadout and took Parisien and other riders out. 40 riders were caught up in or behind the crash.
It took 2 minutes for Parisien to get going again as the team waited. The Symmetrics Team chased hard but they could not get back to the leading group which was setting a fast tempo, minutes ahead. A disappointed Parisien did not finish the race.
François Parisien leading his team at Redlands
I caught up with François before the start of the Tour of Georgia for a quick update.
LL: How is the form and the (left) knee?
FP: Better and better, good preparation for the next months. With the current team situation, everyone is trying to do the best possible results to attract new sponsors and I think we are in the right direction.
My knee problems are fixed. I still need to pay attention so that it doesn’t return because it’s still fresh but I think I overcame it and I can now train normally.
LL: What is your goal for the year?
FP: My goal this year is to go to the Olympic Games, and after that, see what I want to do next year, if I stay with this team or if I change teams.
LL: After many years in Europe, and now here in North America, what would you like to do next year?
FP: 6 years in Europe. Next year, I would like to stay in North America for another year, and then if I have the opportunity to return to Europe, I’ll go back. It really depends on what happens this year. Basically it all rests on this year. I miss Europe, but here there is a new motivation, new races, new riders, and courses that suit my style very well.
The Symmetrics team with Parisien are trying for a good showing in Georgia. I wish them luck.