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Organizers of the fifth edition of the Québec City and Montreal Grands Prix Cyclistes (GPs), held September 12 and 14 respectively, announced the rosters for the upcoming races, which include six of the top-15 riders in the UCI WorldTour rankings.
For the first time, spectators in Québec will see the rainbow jersey of the reigning world road race champion, Rui Costa, in action. Costa is no stranger to either GP, having taken the top step of the podium in Montreal in 2011.
“These are tough, very beautiful circuit races,” he said. “They’re ideal preparation for the world championships. But above all, they are important for your palmarès. Montreal was the first major victory of my career in a one-day race.”
The Portuguese champion will have help from Lampre-Merida teammates, including the ageless Chris Horner, winner of the 2013 Vuelta a España.
But he’ll have his work cut out for him, against some elite competition, including a trio of French stars in Jean-Christophe Péraud (Ag2r La Mondiale), second in the 2014 Tour de France, and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), sixth in that same race, as well as Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol), who won a stage and wore the yellow jersey in this year’s Tour.
Others in the mix include Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing), fifth in the Tour de France, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), who won in Québec City in 2012 and has a reputation for bagging classics (he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège this year), Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), who won stages of both the Giro and the Tour de France in 2014, and Fränk Schleck (Trek Factory Racing).
The list of potential winners continues, including Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), who finished third in Québec City and fourth in Montreal last year, Arthur Vichot (FDJ.fr), second in Québec City last year, and Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp), Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol), Edvald Boasson Hagen and Geraint Thomas (both of Team Sky), among others.
Among the 18 ProTeams in this year’s peloton, Ag2r La Mondiale, currently sitting second in the UCI WorldTour standings, has entered six of the nine men who took the team classification honors in the 2014 Tour de France (Péraud, Bardet, Blel Kadri, Christophe Riblon, Sébastian Minard, and Ben Gastauer).
“Québec City and Montreal are festive events conducive to great action, and the riders really love going over there. The circuits are very well laid out and favor climbers and puncheurs,” said an enthusiastic Péraud.
As always, the GPs will include a contingent of Canadian riders, including two of the three Québecers on the UCI WorldTour, Hugo Houle (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Antoine Duchesne (Europcar), who’ll be competing in front of a home crowd, as well as Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge).
Full team rosters are available here.