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The UCI WorldTour makes its only venture into North America at Canada's Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, with riders fighting for precious ranking points in the two modern-day classics.
The Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec takes place on Friday, September 7, followed by the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday, September 9 with riders traveling between the Canadian cities on Saturday.
The Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec covers 16 laps of a tough circuit that starts and finishes in the Grande Allée, after a loop through the spectacular old city. Last year Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert won in Québec, beating Robert Gesink of the Netherlands and Rigoberto Uran of Colombia in a dramatic finish. While neither Gilbert, Gesink nor Uran will return this year, a similarly aggressive race is expected once again.
The Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal covers 17 laps of a 12.1km circuit around Mount Royal, the climb that overlooks the city and that hosted the 1974 UCI world road championships, when the legendary Eddy Merckx won the men’s title for a third time. The climb also hosted the road race event at the 1976 Olympic Games. Portugal’s Rui Costa won the Montréal race with a late attack last year and will return to defend his title, as does runner-up Pierrick Fedrigo..
The two Canadian races have again attracted high-quality fields. The 18 UCI WorldTour teams have been invited to take part in the two races, with four wild card invitations given to three Pro Continental teams - Cofidis, Team Europcar and the Canadian-based Spidertech p/b C10 team - plus the Canadian national team.
A highlight of the start list will undoubtedly be Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal, who leads the US-based Garmin-Sharp team. He became the first Canadian winner of the Giro d’Italia in May and will be the national hero of the two races. His big rivals include on-form fellow Canadian David Veilleux (Team Europcar), who hails from Québec, Slovakia’s Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank), Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) and Veilleux’s teammate Thomas Voeckler.