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GP Cycliste Quebec and Montreal Press Conference Report – Three of the World’s Best to Race in Canada?

by John Symon

June 22, 2011 (Montreal, QC) – Will two or three of the top-five ranked cyclists worldwide be racing in Quebec City and Montreal in early September? That is what Serge Arsenault, president of the Grand Prix Cycliste Québec–Montréal (GPCQM) suggested in the scrum after today’s press conference here in Montreal.

He mentioned that his organization has already been contacted by some of these top WorldTour (previously ProTour) riders about hotel accommodation for their wives and family, but could not offer specific names at this time. “There should be more news on this after the Tour de France,” he promised. The TdF runs from July 2—24 this year.

Arsenault also said that because 2011 sees the second edition of the GPCQM, and because the events have now proven themselves, that top cyclists are vying to race in Canada. “Top cyclists are interested in picking up points and they can accumulate more points here than at the Vuelta (Tour of Spain),” he noted.

To underline this, Arsenault also stated the Quebec City ProTour win by Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in 2010 “…saved that team from oblivion” and it’s a strong team again in 2011.

An extra lap of approximately 12km has been added to the race in both cities, bringing the total distances to 201.6km in Quebec City on September 9 and 205.7km in Montreal on September 11. Asked why organizers are making the races harder, Arsenault explained that, “It must be difficult so that the best cyclists can distinguish themselves.” A Challenge Pro Sprint has been added to the Canadian version stage last year and both will take place in Quebec City on September 8, one day before the WorldTour race there.

Journalists also learned that a traffic island near the corner of Park Avenue and Camillien Houde Way in Montreal will be “rasé (cut out)” so as not to impede the riders. Arsenault said that the city will eliminate the traffic island as a permanent structure adding that potted flowers could be placed there while the WorldTour riders are not racing. He also spoke about the tremendous ‘collaboration’ that his organization receives from the two biggest cities in Quebec.

Television coverage for both races will be in high definition (HD) and Eurosport, with access to over 50 million households in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, is involved in the distribution of the television coverage of Canadian WorldTours. Their pan-European television sport network has channels available in 59 countries in 20 different languages according to Wikipedia.

Currently the world’s top five ranked male road cyclists include two Spaniards, an Australian, a Belgian, and an Italian:

1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 356 points
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Esp) Saxo Bank Sungard 349
3. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Isd 348
4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 314
5. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Esp) Katusha Team 288

For omplete rankings list click here.

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