BMC Racing have announced its eight rider team for Canada's two WorldTour one-day races, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, with captains Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet.
Gilbert won the 2011 edition of the Québec race ahead of Robert Gesink and makes his first return to the race. It will also be Gilbert's first return to the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal since finishing third in the same year. Van Avermaet has been a regular at the Canadian races and while he is yet to win either race, has finished fifth, third and second in the last three years respectively at the Québec race. The Belgian, who will ride in a protected role alongside Tom Boonen and GIlbert at the Worlds, is yet to finish in the podium in Montréal with fourth place his best result so far.
Supporting the two captains will be Brent Bookwalter in his first race back from the USA Pro Challenge where he finished runner up and claimed a stage win. Brookwalter and Silvan Dillier will also offer BMC a secondary option of attack as both riders enter the races off the back of good form and stage wins.
Rounding out the team for the two races will be Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär and Loïc Vliegen.
BMC for Grands Prix Cyclistes: Brent Bookwalter, Silvan Dillier, Philippe Gilbert, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär, Greg Van Avermaet and Loïc Vliegen.
Pohl to Bigla
Stephanie Pohl will join Bigla Pro Cycling Team for the 2016 season, the team announced on Tuesday. The reigning points race world champion will divide her time between the track and road, with an eye to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The 27-year-old German is eager to continue both disciplines. "I want to be a team player and definitely add to the success of the team. I'd also like to develop myself on the road. I've had discussion with the team and they will be supporting me on the track as I want to participate at the Olympic Games," Pohl said.
"With Stephanie, we have someone who can focus on the time trials and add firepower to the TTT," said team manager Thomas Campana. "When on the road, she's been consistently close to the top riders in the overall standings and that’s something we are looking forward to working on."
Bora-Argon 18 re-signs four sprint helpers
Bora-Argon 18 built a sprint train for the first time this season, and it was successful enough that it has re-signed four of its members for the coming year. Shane Archbold, Ralf Matzka, Christoph Pfingsten and Michael Schwarzmann have all extended with the German team.
The line-up has helped Sam Bennett to four wins this season, and they have all brought in top finishes themselves.
"Shane, Ralf, Christoph and Michael convinced us completely and they fulfilled loyally their tasks to 100%. Besides their own speed, a tactical sense and a certain authority are required in the hectic sprint finishes. The four have these qualities and I am delighted that we are continuing our work," said team manager Ralph Denk.
Houle extends with Ag2r-La Mondiale until 2017
Canadian national time trial champion Hugo Houle has announced a two-year contract extension with French WorldTour team Ag2r-LaMondiale. The 24-year-old made his grand tour debut at the Giro d'Italia in May before claiming his national title against the clock, carrying that form into the Panamerica Games where also won the time trial and explained it was an easy decision to continue with the team.
"I am proud to announce that I will continue to ride in the colours of AG2R–La Mondiale for the 2016 and 2017 season. It's a great vote of confidence on the part of the leadership team," Houle wrote on his website. "It was natural for me to extend this commitment. Over the last three seasons, I am become integrated within the team, although they always make fun of my accent."
"More seriously, they have always supported me even in the most difficult times following the death of my brother Pierrick. I know the team structure and I made good friends, this offers me stability so my only focus is my performance on the bike."
Houle added the team is the perfect scenario in which he can further develop as a rider and focus on achieving his career goals.
In addition, the team gives me a program filled with opportunities. It believes in my potential and wishes to continue my development in the coming years. I have everything I need at AG2R to develop and continue my progress towards my dreams of racing the Tour de France and the Olympic Games," he added.