Svein Tuft has returned to home soil to join the Canadian national team racing at the UCI 2.2 Tour de Beauce from June 13-17 in Saint-Georges, Quebec. The Mitchelton-Scott rider last competed at the Giro d'Italia, where he told Cyclingnews that he would more than likely retire at the end of this year.
"It's always special to come back to Beauce," Tuft said. "It's one of the first big races I did way back in 2001. I have great memories from this race, and I believe it's one of Canada's most important races for the development of our younger riders. It's a race that's always difficult and has a European style to it.
"At this point in my career, it's nice to come back and see some of the younger Canadian riders and see how they're progressing. There's no better way to achieve this than to race with them. I hope to pass on some of my experiences."
Tuft is the last Canadian rider to win the stage race in 2008 while racing for Symmetrics. He will lead a team of seven riders that also includes Isreal Cycling Academy's Ben Perry, who recently finished sixth at the Tour of Korea.
"I like - whenever possible - to create blended projects where we include our emerging under-23/25 athletes with our more experienced pros," said Kevin Field, Road Program Manager at Cycling Canada.
"I'm excited we have the chance to work with Ben and Svein on this project. Ben is still an emerging young fella himself, now in his second season Pro Conti, and brings lots of European pro bike experience to bring to our game. And, of course Svein, our most seasoned WorldTour rider."
The team will also field Elevate-KHS riders Jordan Cheyne, who was third at Tour de Beauce last year, and James Piccoli, who was 10th at the Tour of Utah last year. The team is rounded out by Jay Lamoureux, Michael Foley and Derek Gee.
"Jay, Michael and Derek join us from our men's track endurance program, and it's in great part thanks to our men's track endurance coach Jono Hailstone that this project is happening," Field said. "We have a strong team and I'm excited to work with everyone."
The Tour de Beauce is celebrating its 33rd year and will include six stages in five days, 634 kilometres of race, through the rolling countryside south of Quebec City.
Tuft is a two-time Canadian national road champion and 10-time national time trial champion. After moving overseas to race the WorldTour in 2009 - he now lives in Andorra - he has frequently returned to race both Tour de Beauce and the Canadian Road Championships in June.
This year's Tour de Beauce includes five of the top-10 teams from the UCI America Tour, including Rally Cycling, UnitedHealthcare and Holowesko-Citadel, and in total there will be 19 teams on the start line.
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