Canadian Guillaume Boivin (Israel Cycling Academy) will return to racing Friday at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec after facing down a three-month recovery from a fractured tibial plateau that could have ended his season and submarined his opportunities going forward.
The 29-year-old crashed heavily on June 15 in the Belgian Classic Elfstedenronde while he was coming back through the race caravan and collided with a car. He was taken to a hospital where X-rays confirmed the fracture that would require surgery and long recovery, meaning a likely end to his season. The bad news was compounded by the fact that he was in the middle of contract negotiations for 2019.
"It was very stressful," Boivin admitted. But Boivin bounced back more quickly than expected, and he'll line up Friday with his teammates in the first of two one-day WorldTour races in his home country. He'll also start the race with a newly signed 2019 contact in hand from the Israeli Pro Continental team he joined in 2016.
"We never doubted him and never thought of taking advantage of his situation after he got injured," said team manager Kjell Carlstrom. "For three seasons we came to know who G is - a super strong rider who is 100 percent committed to the team. The extension offer stayed on the table for G to take."
Boivin has raced the Canadian duo four times previously in his career, lining up for the races in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016, when he notched his best finish with 17th in Quebec.
"I could not ask for a better place to come back than my hometown races in Quebec City and Montreal," he said. "I'm very proud that I was able to recover in time for those races. I'm feeling healthy and ready to help the team in both races. I have about one month of training in the legs, but I made the most of every day to be competitive here in Canada.
"It was always my dream to come back in time for those two great home races, but I never risked thinking about it," Boivin said.
The races are also significant because of the team's Canadian owner.
"For ICA, this is practically a home race," said team co-owner Sylvan Adams. "We were very active in both races last year, with Ben [Perry] winning the GPM in Quebec, and Tyler Williams present in the day's main breakaway in Montreal. This year we'll be looking to score a podium result if things go well."