Van Avermaet will lead the team on a redesigned 247km course that includes seven climbs, the last of which comes within the final 5km. Last year Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won from a reduced bunch sprint, but BMC directeur Fabio Baldato thinks the new course will be less predictable.
"This year, the parcours has changed almost completely with only the last final 30 kilometers remaining the same," Baldato said. "It's like a new race so it will be interesting to see how everyone gets on. We are taking a strong squad including five of the riders who showed good form last weekend in Hamburg as well as experienced riders like Michael Schär, Amaël Moinard and of course Greg Van Avermaet.
"I think he will be motivated after the Tour de France and, of course, his win in Rio. While we don't want to put too much pressure on him, I am sure he will come to the race, as he does at every race, ready to do his best and fight to the finish."
Van Avermaet had a hero's welcome upon his return to Belgium, where he was feted by people near his home town, but is ready to get back to business.
"Bretagne Classic - Ouest-France will be my first race since Rio so I'm really looking forward to getting back on the bike and racing as Olympic champion. I think we've got a strong team so I'm really motivated to do a good race and start the final part of the season," Van Avermaet said.
BMC Racing for Bretagne Classic - Ouest-France: Marcus Burghardt, Amaël Moinard, Daniel Oss, Michael Schär, Manuel Senni, Greg Van Avermaet, Peter Velits, Loïc Vliegen
Katusha signs Gonçalves
"For me it was a nice surprise to see a big team like Team Katusha contacting me. You always hope for it, but as the season went by, I thought it would stay just a dream," Gonçalves said. "It is however a reality now. I will not disappoint my new employer; they can count on me from the first day."
Katusha general manager Viacheslav Ekimov explained the choice of the former Portuguese time trial champion. "Gonçalves is a rider we can use on all parcours. He was Portuguese (U23) TT champion, which means a lot," Ekimov said. "Good TT riders always have the big engine. José is quite fast in a sprint like he showed three weeks ago with his stage win in the Tour of Portugal. He can do lead outs and he climbs quite well.
"In a team you need these kind of riders who are also willing to sacrifice their chances for others. As far as I have heard he is also a guy creating good atmosphere in the team, which is more than important, too. José has no experience with the Classics, but he has the body for that kind of races. We are curious and look forward to having him with us."
Gonçalves has an identical twin brother Domingo who also races for Caja Rural, but was not part of the deal with Katusha. "Trust me, we are not inseparable. It's not the first time we ride in separate teams. Most important is that we both do a good job for our respective teams. I will do whatever team director José Azevedo asks me to do. He knows me and knows that he can use me on different terrain," Gonçalves said.
Clancy and Doull to race Revolution opener in Manchester
Olympic Games team pursuit gold medallists Ed Clancy and Owain Doull will compete in the opening round of the Revolution Championship in Manchester on September 17, race organisers announced today. Doull will join teammates Jonathan Dibben, Chris Latham, Steven Burke and Sir Bradley Wiggins at the race.
Clancy, racing for JLT Condor and Doull with Team Wiggins will not just be showing off their Olympic medals, Clancy says he's in it to win. "To go and win the Gold medal representing Great Britain was great but I'm dead keen to put on a good show at these Revolutions for JLT Condor. I think it'll be a good battle between ourselves and Team Wiggins."
Doull said, "We won it [the Revolution Series] last year with Team Wiggins and we'll be trying to replicate that performance this year."
The Manchester round kicks off the three-race series that leads to qualification for the Revolution Champions League. Only the top five teams go through to that competition that is set to bring in riders from seven WorldTour teams, including Team Sky, Orica-BikeExchange and Trek Segafredo.
Photo: Matt Alexander
Canadian National Team to compete in WorldTour races in Québec et Montréal
Race organisers of the Gran Prix de Québec and Montréal have continued their tradition of allowing the Canadian National Team to field some of the country's top talent, announcing an eight-rider squad to compete under the maple leaf flag. They will also try to impress the national team to earn a spot at the UCI Road World Championships in Doha.
Canadian champion Bruno Langlois (Garneau-Quebecor Cycling Team), Guillaume Boivin (Cycling Academy), and six riders from the Silber team - Ryan Roth, Alex Cataford, Matteo Dal-Cin, Nigel Ellsay, Nicolas Masbourain and Ben Perry - will line up against the WorldTour greats.
Kevin Field, Cycling Canada's men's road manager, will be the directeur sportif for the two races. "We'll be looking to repeat our KOM win at the Quebec City race, and will be aggressive in Montreal," he said. "These races are a key preparation tool for Cycling Canada's UCI Road World Championships team. All eight Canadian riders have qualified for the selection pool for this event."