CYCLING Preview: World Tour’s Quebec doubleheader starts Friday

The UCI World Tour makes its appearance in Quebec (CAN) for two races, the ninth Grand Prix de Quebec in Quebec City and Grand Prix de Montreal on Sunday:

∙ Grand Prix de Quebec:
The course is 201.6 km, with 16 laps of a 12.6 km loop in the city center and a total climb of 186 m per loop. The returning medalists:

○ Simon Gerrans (AUS) ~ Winner in 2012-14
○ Greg van Avermaet (BEL) ~ Runner-up in 2016-17
○ Michael Matthews (AUS) ~ Runner-up in 2015
○ Arthur Vichot (FRA) ~ Runner-up in 2013
○ Edvard Boasson Hagen (NOR) ~ Runner-up in 2010
○ Rui Costa (POR) ~ Bronze medalist in 2012
○ Anthony Roux (FRA) ~ Bronze medalist in 2016
○ Alexander Kristoff (NOR) ~ Bronze medalist in 2015

This race has been dominated by Slovakian star Peter Sagan in each of the last two years, but he’s off at the Vuelta a Espana this year. Look for results here.

∙ Grand Prix de Montreal:
Centered on Mount Royal, the course is 195.2 km, with 16 laps of a 12.2 km loop that features a significant climb up the Cote Camillien-Houde that is repeated 16 times! There are five returning race champions in the field for 2018:

○ Greg van Avermaet (BEL) ~ Winner in 2016
○ Rui Costa (POR) ~ Winner in 2011
○ Diego Ulissi (ITA) ~ Winner in 2017
○ Simon Gerrans (AUS) ~ Winner in 2014
○ Tim Wellens (BEL) ~ Winner in 2015
○ Tom-Jelte Slagter (NED) ~ Bronze medalist in 2017

Look for results here.

There are other capable riders in both fields, notably Slovenia’s Binck Bank Tour winner, Matej Mohoric, and Simon Spilak, South Africa’s Daryl Impey, Belgium’s Oliver Naesen, Italy’s Sonny Colbrelli, Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang and sprint star John Degenkolb (GER).

In the background of these races is the upcoming UCI World Road Championships in Innsbruck (AUT) from 22-30 September. Are some of the riders training through these races, or looking to win?