Some of the top professional cyclists from Canada will take a brief hiatus from their WorldTour duties to join the Canadian National Team at the upcoming Tour de Beauce on June 11-16. Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale), Dominique Rollin (FDJ), Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Guillaume Boivin (Cannondale Pro Cycling) will take part to help their country rack up UCI points toward qualification for the World Championships.
Also joining the team will be domestic riders Nic Hamilton (Jelly Belly Cycling), Rob Britton (Team Raleigh) and Marsh Cooper (Optum-Kelly Benefit), whose trade teams are not participating in the Tour de Beauce.
Houle finished as runner-up last year, just 19 seconds off the overall victory, and is looking to climb to the top step this year.
"I'm excited to race at home in front of family and friends," he said. "I am motivated to do better. I think I have what it takes to win the 2013 Tour de Beauce.
Rollin, fresh off racing in the Giro d'Italia, is happy to be coming home to his native Quebec. "It's nice to return to a race in which I grew up and discovered the international field," Rollin said. "This little homecoming the national team has given me will be a great pleasure and offers me a chance to express myself on roads I know well."
The Canadian team has several options to contend for the overall victory here. In addition to Houle's second place, Meier was third in last year's general classification, while Hamilton was second in the mountains classification.
"The Canadian Team is racing the Tour de Beauce with the objectives to win stages and contend for the overall classification, to score big UCI America Tour points," national team manager Gord Fraser said. "We are bringing our A-list of riders with the intention to show how strong Canada has become, with four of our seven riders racing every week on some of the most prestigious races around the globe.
"We want to give our athletes much-needed race days while on hiatus with their respective trade teams. We also want to continue to build the momentum of cycling in Canada with elite men's results as of late," added Fraser.
The 2013 Tour de Beauce will cover 734km in six days of racing, with 19 teams from around the globe on the start line.