Grand Prix Cycliste ProTour sporting manager Charly Mottet believes that the courses for Canada's two ProTour events will be one of the toughest in professional cycling's premier series.
For 14 years Mottet was race director of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré stage race in France, a traditional warm-up event for the Tour de France, so he's very familiar with the construction of testing circuits that offer plenty for riders and fans alike.
His role came after a successful career as a rider, the highlights of which included a win in the world championship road race of 1989, stage wins in Paris-Nice and the Tour de France plus three Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré titles. In 1991 he finished the Tour de France in fourth place overall.
"These are circuits for tough riders," said Mottet. "These are two races that will really separate the men from the boys. A non-pro wouldn't last more than five laps."
The two events, which will take place in Québec City and Montréal, offer riders a tough rolling test in the middle of both cities, which will make it appealing to fans, who have been starved of top-level bike racing for many years.
"In Québec City, there's a climb to the finish line. That'll make it extra challenging and only the really tough riders will like it," said Mottet. "The circuit is right in the city, so people won't have to go far to see the race. It should be a great atmosphere.
"The Montréal circuit already has a lot of history, with the 1974 Worlds, the 1976 Olympic Games and the Grand Prix des Amériques. People talk about Mount Royal, but the university hill and the little climb at the end are hard, too."
Canadian rider Ryder Hesjedal (pictured above right) will go into both events as one of the favourites, having proven himself in both the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de France this season. He'll be up against the likes of Euskaltel-Euskadi's Samuel Sanchez, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini), Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo), who should all thrive on the challenging circuits.
"Two great races, really well run, so that when the teams leave Canada they'll be sorry to go, they'll already be talking about coming back," said Mottet. "The organisers have put in a terrific effort - for the transportation, the accommodation and just generally."
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