Canada gears up for next month’s ProTour races, the GP Montreal and GP Quebec

Next month Canada will host the first ProTour events to be held in North America, the GP Montreal and GP Quebec. Horner, Leipheimer, Boasson Hagen, Sanchez, Hesjedal and Basso highlight the start lists released Wednesday.

Eastern Canada is gearing up for North America’s only ProTour events this year, the Gran Prix of Quebec (Sept. 10) and the Grand Prix of Montreal (Sept. 12). Eighteen ProTour teams, three Continental Pro teams and a Canadian national team are on the race startlists released Wednesday.

“We have a high-quality peloton that will be racing on two difficult, up-and-down courses, with repeated hill climbs that will favor climber-puncheur riders and all-rounders,” said Charly Mottet, sport manager of Grand Prix Cycliste ProTour Québec–Montréal.

Mottet, a three-time Tour de France stage winner, finished third at the Grand Prix des Amériques in 1989, on the Mount Royal course in Montréal. A variation of the course is being used for the GP Montreal.

Highlighting the startlists: Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Samuel Sanchez, Rabobank’s Robert Gesink, Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions), Americans Chris Horner  and Levi Leipheimer(RadioShack), Giro d’Italia champion Ivan Basso and the young Slovakian star Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Doimo.

A special Canadian national team will be directed by Team SpiderTech-Planet Energy’s Steve Bauer and include Quebec’s Dominique Rollin (on loan from Cervelo TestTeam), Canadian road champion Will Routley (from Jelly Belly), David Veilleux and Ryan Anderson (both from Kelly Benefit Strategies), Rob Britton (Bissell) along with Spidertech stars David Boily, Guillaume Boivin and François Parisien,

(RELATED: Race startlists.)