With a victory at Big Sugar Gravel and as the BWR Triple Crown of Gravel (Belgian Waffle Ride GC) champion, Roberge had an exceptional season in 2021.
It wasn’t just gravel: the 24-year-old Quebecer finished fourth in the time trial at the Canadian road championships and fourth at the Joe Martin Stage Race this season as well. But it’s hard to overstate how well his first real gravel racing season went. In addition to his big wins, he also finished fourth at SBT GRVL, second at BWR Asheville, third at Gravel Locos and second at Rooted Vermont in fields stacked with gravel runners that have grinded for years.
It’s only in the last couple of years that cyclists in North America have started to seek representation, and companies like Inspire Athlete Management are needed more than ever. As gravel racing grows in popularity, more and more athletes are turning to a private model for racing, or looking for sponsors to work alongside their current team allegiances in order to make a career in cycling a more viable long-term option. And returning from a successful gravel racing season, Roberge realized he had a problem: he could keep taking calls and meetings while trying to stay on top of his inbox. , or he could admit he needed help.
Roberge joins a large Canadian contingent
Over the past year, Inspire Athlete Management has also recruited top Canadian cycling talent, including Mike Woods, Leah Kirchmann, Michael van den Ham and Ruby West. “Adam and the other athletes we work with are torn between trying to accommodate sponsorship requests, developing race schedules, handling logistics and negotiating contracts, which can be a full-time job, all while trying to make a living. focus on training. and racing, ”says IAM co-founder Simon Williams. “Our goal is to help athletes like Adam find the best partnerships possible so that he can continue to do what he does best: run at the highest level.”
Getting into the gravel was a necessity for Roberge in 2021, with fewer road races in North America, but a burning desire to get back to the start line. “I knew gravel would be a good choice for me, and I loved it. And really, the gravel saved my season. It was a forced transition, but it was a great transition.
“Getting into the gravel was so different from the road. On the road, it was simple: you had a contract with a team, and that was it. Now even as a road racer I found myself dealing directly with business, and even more with gravel and becoming more of a privateer, and you can’t do whatever it takes to be a man of business and a runner at the same time. he admits. “Having IAM to help me manage everything has been very helpful and has allowed me to prioritize what I do best: training and running! “
Roberge is also actively involved with several charitable and non-profit organizations in Quebec, including the 808 Bonneville Challenge, which raises funds for student athletes, and the Corniche Challenge, where he is an ambassador for the event, which raises funds for youth suicide prevention. “I am particularly passionate about these two charities,” he says. “It’s so important for student athletes to have the resources they need, and I think it’s essential to help struggling kids, especially those at risk of suicide.
His ideal partnerships go beyond just wanting the latest and greatest gear – he wants to work with companies that will help him elevate his storytelling and give back to the community. Since the pandemic began in 2020, Roberge has spent a lot of time and energy sharing his races and training behind the scenes on YouTube, with over 300 videos and hundreds of thousands of views. It hosts weekly live Zoom rides in the winter to connect with friends and fans, and is planning a documentary series for 2022.
“I loved sharing what I do for training and racing, and everything related to my gear, on my social media, especially YouTube and Instagram,” he adds. “I can’t believe how many people are asking about tire pressure! I’m excited to start working on more professional content as I head into the next racing season.