Bauke Mollema's overall victory for Trek Factory Racing at the Tour of Alberta on Monday has given him the confidence he was looking for heading into the pair of Canadian WorldTour one-day races at the Grands Prix Cyclistes in Quebec City on September 11 and Montreal on September 13.
"I will race the classics in Quebec and Montreal, I like those races, so that's a goal for me and the goal for the team," Mollema said. "They are two WorldTour races, so they are really important. I think that Alberta was a really good preparation for the Quebec races because it was a six-day race, and there are only three days between the two events, so I think this was the best preparation for those classics."
Mollema started the Tour of Alberta in the race lead after his team Trek Factory Racing took a surprise and slim, victory over Orica GreenEdge. He briefly lost the leader's jersey to Michael Matthews at the end of stage 2 in Grande Prairie, but quickly gained it back during the next two mountain stages 3 and 4, held in Jasper National Park. During those summit finishes to Miette Hot Springs and Marmot Basin, he placed second to compatriot Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin).
The rain-soaked, near-freezing stage 5 held on dirt roads, saw race officials neutralise the finishing circuits after the entire peloton rode off course. Thus, the overall classification remained the same heading into the final stage 6 in Edmonton. Mollema started the last stage leading the race by six seconds over Adam Yates (Orica GreenEdge) and 22 seconds over Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin).
Mollema relied on his Trek Factory Racing teammates to lead the peloton during the 124km circuit race held in downtown Edmonton, and they succeeded in bringing him across the line as the 2015 Tour of Alberta overall winner.
"It's been a really great week for us and it couldn't have started better with the team time trial, and I think that's the reason why I was in the lead all week and why I won the general classification," Mollema said. "The uphill finishes were hard but the team time trial was the key for us this week. We are really happy to win the GC. It is really nice for me because it's been several years since I've won a general classification and that is really special. It's been a great week."
Mollema will travel from Edmonton to Quebec where he and his teammates, and other WorldTour competitors, will meet with the press at the local airport before racing on the Quebec City circuit on Friday and then travelling to Montreal for the second circuit race on Sunday.
In the past, Mollema has raced at the Vuelta a Espana before heading to the World Championships for the Netherlands, however, last year he instead raced the two Canadian one-day events where he place 10th in both events.
"Both races are equally as important but I think the second race in Montreal has a longer climb and normally that would suit me a little bit better," Mollema said. "I like the first race also in the city of Quebec and it is a nice finish but it will be a hard race because there will be fast guys there with Michael Matthews and Tom-Jelte Slagter, and a lot of other riders.
"We will see. I think my form is better than last year and Alberta has been a good preparation, for sure. I came to Alberta without racing for one month, so I wasn’t sure about my condition. I felt good in the team time trial and because we did such a great team time trial, I started to believe that I could win the GC too."
Following the Grand Prix Cyclistes, Mollema will shift into a support role for his national team at the UCI Road World Championships held in Richmond, Virginia.
It was reported that Dutch champion Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) will lead the team, which also includes Lars Boom, Tom Dumoulin, Sebastian Langeveld, Robert Gesink, Dylan van Baarle, Jos van Emden and Pim Ligthart.
"I go to the World Championships in a support role for Niki Terpstra, Tom Dumoulin, maybe, or Lars Boom," Mollema said. "They will be our leaders and I'm happy to go there and support them."
The elite men's road race will be held on September 27. It will cover 259.3km and includes short climbs and cobblestones on a spring-classic-style circuit.