The rumors have been circulating for the past week but today the news was made official, David Veilleux will be racing at the Tour de France with his Europcar team. The 25-year old rider will be the first Québécois to race in La Grande Boucle.
“I am extremely pleased with this news. This is a childhood dream come true and all my years of perseverance and discipline are rewarded. The Tour is not only the ultimate cycling event, but is also seen as one of the world’s most demanding sporting events. “ Veilleux wrote on his blog.
On the bubble last year, Veilleux was ultimately left off the Europcar Tour roster in favor of an all French team. This year, Jean-René Bernardeau really had no choice after Veilleux’ performance at the Criterium du Dauphiné where he won the first stage and wore the yellow jersey for three days.
“What’s funny is that I dreamt two days ago that I was passed on the line just as I was coming in for the stage win at the Dauphiné. I was second. It’s better than in a dream…” Veilleux stated after his stage win Sunday June 2, 2013.
In his second World Tour stage race of his career, Veilleux made his way into the early break and then, seeing the field was closing in, took off on a solo flyer with 50 kilometers to go on the stage. Veilleux held on to claim the biggest win of his career.
“I didn’t steal it and it wasn’t given to me. I worked for it.” Veilleux told sportcom.ca about his victory, “All the riders with me in the break that Sunday were caught or even overtaken by the peloton.”
With the pack chasing hard, Veilleux was able to use his descending skills on the twisty descents down Col du Corbier and Pas de Morgins. “Descents take practice. I’m not a great descender but I’m pretty good. I took good lines and I was very comfortable cornering.”
With his ballsy attack, Veilleux put on the race leader’s yellow jersey which he and his team successfully defended for the next two stages the time trial.
Years in the making. Well known in Quebec and North America, Veilleux raced under Jonas Carney with the Kelly Benefit Strategies squad for three years until joiining Europcar in 2011. Though often classified as a sprinter, Veilleux is more a power rider and some of his wins in this period came from late solo attacks as well bunch sprint. In no hurry to move on to the next step of his career, Veilleux took the time to learn from his teammates, from positioning to tactics.
The hard work continued for Veilleux after joining Bernardeau’s team. Highlights included victories at Tre Valli Varesine in Italy in 2012. In his first World Tour stage race in April, the Tour of Romandie, Veilleux made his way into the break on the first stage but was caught before the final bunch sprint. Working hard to stay with the front of the field, Veilleux was dropped – but not by much – on the to final high mountain stages.
Now Veilleux is getting ready for the 100th edition of the Tour de France, “I want to thank my family and all those who helped me over the years to achieve my dream, especially my fiancee, who has always been there to support me. From now until the start [of the Tour], on June 29, I will recover and regain my strength to get ready to support my teammates Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland on the roads of France.”