The six-month countdown has started, and the 22 teams were named for the Grand Prix Cycliste races in Québec City and Montréal. No major changes to the courses except that they will be longer, as each added one lap making the races over 200-km long.
For the second year in a row, the Grand Prix Cycliste races in Québec City and Montréal will welcome the 18 top teams in the world on the second weekend in September. In exactly six months’ time, the 18 ProTeams of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and 4 Professional Continental teams invited by the race organizers will have completed the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and will be starting the Montreal race. The Quebec City competition will take place on Friday, September 9, and the Montreal one on Sunday, September 11, 2011.
In addition to the 18 UCI ProTeams, 4 UCI Pro Continental teams were invited: SpiderTech powered by C10, Team Europcar, FDJ and Cofidis. Three of the teams have Canadians on their rosters.
The first Canadian Professional Continental team, SpiderTech powered by C10, the team of the renowned Steve Bauer, is obviously on the list. Among its riders are several talented Québecois, including Guillaume Boivin, Keven Lacombe, Martin Gilbert and David Boily, and of course the powerful racers Svein Tuft, Zach Bell and Will Routley. Team Europcar, formally Bbox Bouygues Telecom, includes the 2010 winner of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and current leader of the UCI Europe Tour, Thomas Voeckler, and a new member from Québec, David Veilleux. FDJ lost its ProTeam status this season, but is continuing to progress with Québecois Dominique Rollin in its squad.
The 18 ProTeams are: AG2R La Mondiale, BMC Racing Team, Euskaltel-Euskadi, HTC – Highroad, Katusha Team, Lampre – ISD, Leopard Trek, Liquigas-Cannondale, Movistar Team, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Pro Team Astana, Quickstep Cycling Team, Rabobank Cycling Team, Saxo Bank Sungard, Sky Procycling, Team Garmin-Cervelo, Team RadioShack and Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team.
The 2011 editions of the races will also bring course changes. “Given last year’s experience and the fact that the riders have said they would like the distance to be closer to that of the great classic races, this year’s competitions in Quebec and Montreal will be over 200 km long. The pack will ride one more lap, and will have the daunting hills of Côte de la Montagne in Quebec City and Camilien Houde Road in Montreal to contend with. Both races promise to be really exciting, and whoever wins will be a worthy champion!” says Charly Mottet, the organization’s sports manager.
There will also be an improved version of the Challenge Sprint on Thursday, September 8, on the streets of the Old Capital.