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Iles set to go pro with Norco

Local rider signs two-year deal

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Jack Iles is ready to go with Norco.

The local rider has signed a two-year contract with the Norco Factory Racing Team to compete under its banner on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Cup tour next year. Iles was unveiled as one of the team's newest members in an announcement on Nov. 26. Among Iles' new teammates is Sam Blenkinsop, who placed fifth in the UCI final standings last year.

Iles competed on the junior loop this past season, and is looking forward to getting the opportunity to take part in every single race on the senior circuit in 2015.

The 18-year-old posted a podium finish, a silver in Mont-Ste-Anne, Que., and was fifth overall in the junior World Cup rankings as part of the Evil Vengeance Tour team in 2014.

"It'll help me a lot, because I have experience on all the courses now," he said. "That comes in pretty handy."

Iles said Norco first expressed interest in signing him in August at the Windham, N.Y. World Cup stop. Iles said he knows all the team members in one capacity or another, and that familiarity combined with welcoming approach made him feel like it was the best option for him.

"It's an awesome company with tons of great people that are super interested in biking," he said. "They've given me tons of support, so I'm pretty stoked."

Iles explained he is taking part in a comprehensive off-season training program that includes weights, cardio, yoga, and some on-bike activities.

Thompson up for major award

Local ski-cross racer Marielle Thompson was amongst some stellar company on Dec. 2.

The Olympic gold medallist was revealed as one of 14 candidates for the Lou Marsh Award, which is given out annually to Canada's top athlete. Past winners have ranged from Nancy Greene, to Wayne Gretzky to Terry Fox. This year's voting takes place Dec. 10.

The other nominees are: Alex Bilodeau (freestyle skiing), Eugenie Bouchard (tennis), Jon Cornish (football), Sidney Crosby (hockey), Drew Doughty (hockey), Justine Dufour-Lapointe (freestyle skiing), Kaillie Humphries (bobsleigh), Mikael Kingsbury (freestyle skiing), Justin Morneau (baseball), Catharine Pendrel (mountain biking), Marie-Philip Poulin (hockey), Milos Raonic (tennis), and Emma-Jayne Watson (horse racing).

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