Van Avermaet, Gerrans, Matthews, Wellens and Degenkolb headline an impressive field at the Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal 2018
Now in their ninth editions, the Grand Prix Cyclistes de Québec et Montréal (GPCQM) are once again asserting their impressive pedigree on the UCI WorldTour calendar, the top tier of international road cycling
The challenging courses, deep field of competitors with a large number of titles won, suspense-filled racing, quality of organization, and the friendly hospitality of Québec have made these races choice stops on the tour that all riders aspire to win. With just two weeks to go before race weekend, the 18 UCI WorldTeams and three wild-card teams (Israel Cycling Academy, Rally Cycling and Team Canada) have announced which riders they are sending to the races, and once again this year each has entered a squad of first-rate competitors well suited to the spectacular parcours in Québec City (sept. 7) and Montréal (sept. 9).
The peloton of 147 riders, representing 28 countries, includes skilled road warriors like Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team), the reigning Olympic Champion, who also held the Yellow Jersey for eight days at this year's Tour de France, won the Montréal GP in 2016, and has been on the podium in Québec City four times since 2012. "I love these two races; every year they're among my main end-of-season challenges," says the Classics specialist from Belgium, who will face tough opposition from several riders who are well versed in the traps of both city courses. Lining up at the start will be Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), Robert Gesink (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Simon Gerrans (BMC Racing Team), who'll be retiring at the end of this season. All are past winners of the Québec events.
"Once again, we are fortunate to have a very high-calibre field this year," enthuses GPCQM Executive Vice-President Marcel Leblanc. "The riders appreciate the value of our races, and they know that they make prestigious additions to a palmarès. We're also glad to have many Canadian racers competing this year, which demonstrates the value of home-grown cycling."
Other competitors set to shine include Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb, who has often come close to victory in major races), Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain–Merida), Sam Bennett (Bora–Hansgrohe, winner of three stages at this year's Giro d'Italia), Carlos Betancur (Movistar), Alexis Vuillermoz and Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates, winner of the final stage on the Champs Elysées at this year's Tour de France), Anthony Roux (Groupama FDJ, France's National Road Champion) and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo).
Against this very competitive backdrop, the GPCQM are pleased and proud to welcome the strongest contingent of Canadian riders since the races' inception, with 16 representatives of the host country entered. They include Québecers Hugo Houle (Astana) and Guillaume Boivin (Israel Cycling Academy), both of whom have been riding at the UCI WorldTour level for several years now.
The Team and Key Riders
BMC RACING TEAM: Van Avermaet (BEL), Gerrans (AUS)
UAE TEAM EMIRATES: Ulissi (ITA), Rui Costa (POR), Kristoff (NOR)
QUICK-STEP FLOORS: Stybar (CZE)
TEAM SKY: Rowe (GBR)
BORA–HANSGROHE: Bennett (IRL)
MICHELTON-SCOTT: Nieve (ESP), Impey (RSA), Kreuziger (CZE)
MOVISTAR TEAM: Betancur (COL)
ASTANA PRO TEAM: Fuglsang (DEN), Houle (CAN), Kangert (EST)
TEAM LOTTO NL–JUMBO: Gesink (NED)
BAHRAIN–MERIDA: Bole (SLO), Colbrelli (ITA), Pozzovivo (ITA), Mohoric (SLO)
TEAM SUNWEB: Matthews (AUS)
AG2R LA MONDIALE: Bakelants (BEL), Naesen (BEL), Vuillermoz (FRA)
TREK–SEGAFREDO: Degenkolb (GER)
LOTTO SOUDAL: Wellens (BEL)
EF EDUCATION FIRST–DRAPAC P/B CANNONDALE: Vanmarcke (BEL)
GROUPAMA–FDJ: Roux (Fra), Vichot (FRA)
TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN: Spilak (SLO)
TEAM DIMENSION DATA: Boasson Hagen (NOR)
ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY: Boivin (CAN), Perry (CAN)
RALLY CYCLING: Anderson (CAN)
TEAM CANADA: Cataford, Langlois (CAN)