August 21, 2012 (Saint-Lambert, Quebec) – The organizers of the Québec City and Montréal Grands Prix Cyclistes (GPCQM) today unveiled details of the teams entered in the 2012 editions. Some of road racing’s biggest names from the UCI WorldTour are headed for Québec, including Cadel Evans, Ryder Hesjedal, Thomas Voeckler, Peter Sagan and many more.
The peloton for the races will consist of the 18 ProTeams, three Continental Pro teams having received wild-card invitations (Cofidis, Europcar, SpiderTech). In Québec City, the roster will be rounded out by the Canadian national team. A total of 176 riders will line up for the start in Québec City, and 168 in Montréal.
Since they were first run in 2010, the Grands Prix have consistently featured some of the very best racers in the world. Once again this year, the field will include major stars from the top flight of international cycling, starting with Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp), who made history this past May as the first Canadian ever to win the Tour of Italy. He has always made a point of competing in the Québec City and Montréal GPs-the only UCI WorldTour events held in the Americas-and this year hopes to add them to his list of victories. But he’ll face stiff competition, starting with Australian Cadel Evans (BMC), who won the Tour de France in 2011 and the UCI Road World Championships in 2009. He’ll be racing in Québec for the first time and, after a disappointing performance in this year’s Tour de France, is keen to end the season on a high note with some podium finishes.
Fans in Québec City and Montréal will also get to see two riders who shone at the Tour de France earlier this summer: Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas). Voeckler won in Québec City in 2010 and wore the yellow jersey for several days in the 2011 edition of La Grande Boucle. He also rode strongly in the 2012 Tour, winning two stages with plenty of panache and capturing the polka dot jersey as King of the Mountains. Last week, he told France’s L’Équipe magazine: “The races in Québec are key stops on my road to the World Championships this year.”
Since he joined the Liquigas team in 2010, young Slovak Peter Sagan has emerged as a formidable force in the pro peloton, on all types of terrain and in all weather conditions. The runner-up in the Montréal GP two years ago, he already has close to 40 victories to his credit, including three stage wins in the 2012 Tour de France, in which he also took the green jersey (points classification). He’ll be among the riders to watch.
Geraint Thomas wasn’t a member of the great Sky Procycling contingent that helped Bradley Wiggins to victory in the Tour de France, as he was focused on training for the Olympics. In London, the Welshman was part of Great Britain’s Gold Medal quartet in Team Pursuit, which set a new world record-not once but twice. He’s now dedicating himself full-time to road racing, a specialty in which he has already excelled brilliantly. This will be his first time racing in Québec.
Those headliners will be joined by several other first-class riders including Spain’s Oscar Freire (Katusha), a three-time world champion; Janez Brajkovic and Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana), respectively ninth in the 2012 Tour de France and winner earlier this year of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, one of the Classics on the UCI WorldTour. The Orica-GreenEDGE team will feature a solid Australian trio made up of Stuart O’Grady, a former winner of Paris-Roubaix and the 6th-place finisher at the London Olympics, Simon Gerrans, winner of the 2012 Milan-San Remo UCI World Tour race, and Matthew Goss. Alberto Rui Costa (Movistar), the winner of last year’s Montréal GP, Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ BigMat), the runner-up in that race, Sylvain Chavanel (OmegaPharma-Quick Step); and Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank), who last week won the Clásica San Sebastián, another race on the UCI World Tour, are also sure to push the peloton.
The Challenge Sprint Pro
Inaugurated last year, when it was won by Michael Morkov (who was a key figure in this year’s Tour de France), the Challenge Sprint Pro will be run for the second time, and the excitement will be cranked up a notch thanks to a very strong field. The International Cycling Union has made no secret of its interest in this spectacular, crowd-friendly race format. The atmosphere promises to be electric along Québec City’s Grande Allée on September 6, with competitors including Oscar Freire (Katusha), a triple world champion who has a career total 74 wins, Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE), who won Milan-San Remo earlier this year, Gerald Ciolek (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Michael Matthews (Rabobank), Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat), a past Tour de France stage winner and Québecer David Veilleux (Team Europcar), who has just won the very challenging Tre Valle Varesine, in Italy, his first major success as a pro.
“We have an extremely high quality slate of entries for 2012, in the GPs as well as the Challenge Sprint,” said Charly Mottet, Sports Manager for the Grands Prix. “The teams know the value of these courses and the quality of the organization, and they know that, by excelling in Québec City and Montréal, they can pick up World Tour points just as easily as in the Tour of Spain. All season long, the ProTeams’ directeurs sportifs have been enthusiastic about these races, and they’ve entered the best possible squads.”
The Québec races will be televised in more than 75 countries around the world. In Quebec, the chain TVA Sports is the exclusive broadcaster of the Québec City and Montréal Grands Prix Cyclistes and of the Challenge Sprint Pro. TVA will also broadcast the last two hours of each Grand Prix. The races will be televised live across Canada on Rogers Sportsnet One and Sportsnet World, as well as in Europe and Asia on Eurosport, British Eurosport and Eurosport Asia/Pacific. The schedule is posted HERE.
The Grands Prix Cyclistes Québec – Montréal
In 2009, the Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec-Montréal (GPCQM) organization was granted the first two UCI WorldTour licences for races in North America. The organization has been responsible for planning and putting on these world-class cycling races in Québec City and Montréal since 2010. Please visit the website www.gpcqm.ca for more details on these races at the premier level of world cycling. The GPCQM organization would like to highlight the contribution of the following partners: the Government of Canada, the Government of Québec, the City of Québec, the City of Montréal, Tourisme Montréal, Québecor, KIA and Air Transat.
A bio of the teams and its leaders is available on our website HERE.