David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies) intends to put the finishing touches on his mid-season form in order to earn a spot on the Canadian National Team for the back-to-back ProTour races to be held in his hometown of Quebec City on September 10 and in Montreal on September 12. The all-rounder put himself at the head of a long list of talented riders by winning the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic on Sunday.
“These races are big because it’s the ProTour and one of the few times that I will get the chance to race at that level and see where I’m at against the real European level,” Veilleux said. “Of course it is also at my home and held on two courses that I ride often and I really know them. I’ve been training on those two courses for the last ten years. It is very important for me and I will try to be as fit as I can to do something in those events.”
The Canadian National Team selected a longlist of 16 potential riders that will be led by Steve Bauer, directeur sportif of the nation’s sole UCI Continental team SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy. Veilleux made the cut along with his Kelly Benefit Strategies teammate Ryan Anderson.
The list also includes nine riders from Bauer’s team, Eric and David Boily, Guillaume Boivin, Martin Gilbert, Keven Lacombe, Bruno Langlois, Francois Parisien, Andrew Randell and Ryan Roth. Also in the mix is Jelly Belly p/b Kenda’s Canadian National Champion Will Routely, UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis’ Andrew Pinfold, Bissell’s Rob Britton and Fly V Australia’s Charles Dionne.
“It is always hard to get a spot on a team like that,” Veilleux said. “There are ProTour Canadian riders that won’t need a spot on the national team and that opens up a lot of spots. I think it will be feasible.”
Race organizer Serge Arsenault announced that all 18 UCI ProTour teams will be obliged to attend the two events. Those teams include AG2R La Mondiale, Astana, Caisse D’ Epargne, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Footon-Servetto, Francaise Des Jeux, Garmin Transitions, Lampre-Farnese Vini, Liquigas-Doimo, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Quick Step, Rabobank, Sky Professional Cycling Team, HTC-Columbia, Katusha, Milram, RadioShack and Saxo Bank.
Canadians from ProTour teams that are likely to compete include Team Sky’s Michael Barry and Garmin-Transitions’ Svein Tuft and Ryder Hesjedal. There are four Professional Continental teams invited that include Cervelo TestTeam with its Quebec native Dominique Rollin, BMC Racing, Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis.
Veilleux spent much of the off-season attending classes as a mechanical engineering student at the University of Montreal. The harsh northern winters do not lend well to outdoor training thus he started clocking up his early season base kilometres slightly later than most pros and hopes that will carry his top form into the late summer months.
“After Christmas I started to put more time in and do a little bit more to make sure that I was good for the month of June,” Veilleux said. “We started with more international races this year. I was racing in the Philippines, Uruguay and France, and then we raced in California and Philadelphia, so that is why I haven’t raced as much in the USA.” Veilleux placed 6th overall at the Tour de Bretagne held in late-April in France. He is scheduled to compete in the Tour of Delta in British Columbia and will follow that with some recovery time before specifically training to peak in early September.
“I will try to peak again for the ProTour races,” Veilleux said. “I want to try to get in the national team selection and try to do some good races at the ProTour events.”