Quebecer Guillaume Boivin expects an exceptional welcome from the Quebec public, who have been deprived of the Grands Prix Cyclistes since 2019.
After several blows brilliance from Canadian athletes in recent years, Boivin returns home with joy to participate in both races.
“It's been too long and we missed it. Even more to us, Quebecers and Canadians, but also to the whole peloton. Everyone has performed well since 2019. Mike Woods has done great things on monuments and at the Olympics, me at Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France, and of course Hugo's victory this summer [16th stage of the Grande Boucle ]. I know people are proud and they will have riders to cheer on,” explained the 33-year-old cyclist.
After crossing the Atlantic, Boivin quickly made his way to the United States for a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) race in Maryland won by his teammate Sep Vanmarcke on Sunday.
The Quebecer then took the time to sleep “in town”, in Montreal, before heading for Old Quebec on Tuesday.
Early this morning, the entire Israel-Premier Tech team must hit the road again for a round trip to Rivière-du-Loup.
With the two leaders Sylvan Adams and Jean Bélanger, the athletes will take the time to visit the head office of their main sponsor, a world-class company present in 28 countries.
Boivin seems rather confident of avoid the relegation of his professional team, which urgently needs to score points.
“There is no danger for the team. Yes, we're fighting for the World Tour license and it won't be easy, but we're also going to fight for invitations to the big tours. In the last week, we have taken a good momentum and we hope to continue that at the end of the week, ”added the 33-year-old Montrealer, speaking of the victory in Maryland, but also of that of Corbin Strong at the Tour de Grande- Brittany.
Along the river
Led by manager Steve Bauer, Les Houle, Boivin, Simon Clarke, Jakob Fuglsang, Giacomo Nizzolo, Krists Neilands and Vanmarcke will take part in a training session along the St. Lawrence River on Wednesday ahead of the scheduled Quebec and Montreal Cycling Grands Prix. Friday and Sunday respectively.
For many of them, this will be their first experience in Bas-Saint-Laurent and Kamouraska.
Despite the resumption of Canadian racing, North American cycling has already been in better shape. The situation is not very good at the moment due to a starving calendar.
In recent years, the Tour of Utah, Tour of Colorado and Tour of California have disappeared. Even if the local talent is not lacking, hopes are struggling to hatch.
“It is sad to have lost these races. It was important for the runners here, said Boivin. It is truly a difficult situation for cycling in North America. On the other hand, we are pampered in Canada with our team and the development that is being done. »
Six weeks later, Boivin turned the page on a heartbreaking end to the Tour de France. Absent from the last stage on the Champs-Élysées, he had not been able to celebrate three weeks of hard work. Since then, the engine has been refurbished.
“I haven't been really sick despite having a cough for three weeks. After Plouay and Maryland, I feel that the form is good. Just in time for the Grands Prix. I will play a supporting role in the finale. I have what it takes to do a great job”, added the best Canadian in the standings in Quebec and Montreal in 2018.
On the Quebec circuit, work is not yet finished for the passage of cyclists in the sector of rue De Buade and the place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville.
A hierarchy to be reversed
The French cyclist David Gaudu, who landed in Montreal on Tuesday, would like to see his Quebec teammate Antoine Duchesne stand out at home this weekend.
The Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec could hold some surprises with the presence of several new, younger riders who are shaking up the hierarchy and the way of racing.
Since the last presentation of the events in 2019, big stars at the start twenties literally crushed the competition on numerous occasions.
With two victories in the Tour de France even before celebrating his 23rd birthday, the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar is not used to respecting the habits and customs when he wants to blast a peloton.
“We see the style of racing that has changed,” said Frenchman David Gaudu upon his arrival at Montreal-Trudeau airport on Tuesday.
Fourth in the last Tour de France, the leader of the Groupama-FDJ team would like to see his Quebec teammate Antoine Duchesne lead the event.
“We may not necessarily have the rider who can win the Grand Prix de Québec or the Grand Prix de Montréal, but it's still circuit racing. It might be disjointed. It would be great to see Antoine at home, in the breakaway. It would be good and it would reward his teamwork for years. »
For those who still doubted the presence of the “Caribou” in Quebec, his fractured left hand does not seem too much of a handicap. In the lobby of the Delta Quebec hotel on Tuesday evening, Duchesne was all smiles and nothing will deprive him of his pleasure of being at home.
“It's going to take more than that to m stop! he gushed as he recounted his recent 230 kilometer training ride in the mountains near Annecy, France.
A firm favourite
For his part, Frenchman Romain Bardet, who finished fifth in Montreal in 2014, was also very happy to return to Quebec. After a sixth place overall in the Tour de France, Bardet resumed competition in August at the Tour of Germany.
“It will be the first real test. I am very happy to be here, very happy that these two great races are resuming. Above all, I hope to be well on Sunday, in Montreal. It's the classic that I like the most of the two. »
Like many others, Bardet and his DSM teammates will have the same big name in their sights this weekend.
« There is Wout van Aert which is the big favourite, and behind, it remains very dense. In addition, there is the hunt for UCI points. So the teams have a lot of pressure. »
The Belgian Greg Van Avermaet was also motivated to return to the North American circuits. He triumphed in Montreal in 2016 and 2019, in addition to getting on the podium six times in eight years in Quebec City.
“It's already been three years, but I think it's still possible to do a good result. There may be new riders who are better than me at the moment, but I've prepared myself well mentally and I'm ready to do something. »
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128