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Echoes

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Let's start with Quebec, we have time for Montreal.  ;)






- la Côte de la Montagne (375 m à 10%)
- la Côte de la Potasse/Des Glacis (420 m à 9%)
- la Montée de la Fabrique/Des Jardins (190 m à 7%)
- la Montée du Fort/Saint-Louis/Grande Allée (1 km à 4%).

The route as always lays on a historical setting: The Plains of Abraham! The riders are climbing down the "Côte Gilmour" which in 1759 was a very small path on the Quebec Promontary that the British troops led by James Wolfe climbed up to meet the French army led by Marquis Louis-Joseph de Montcalm for the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, resulting in the unfortunate French defeat and eventually the end of the "New France". The "Grande allée" where the finish lays existed by then and was taken by Montcalm.  ;)

16 laps, 12.5km each

Startlist: http://www.cyclingfans.com/grand-prix-cycliste-de-quebec/start-list


Coverage:
https://videosdecyclisme.fr/
http://tiz-cycling.racing/

and Eurosport on TV




Cover for Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess, shot in Quebec with the majestic Frontenac Castle in the background.  :)

Sorry for the short preview.
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  • "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

    Leadbelly

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    Quite a poor edition I thought.

    The lack of any real action outside the last km will make it a struggle to make the review anything other than short. Everybody seemed content for it to come down to a sprint and that's what we got.

    Sagan looking good for a WC three-peat.
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  • Mellow Velo

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     Yup.
    What a terrible race.
     Bora controlled the last couple of laps, but other teams either had the same game plan or no plan at all.
    Perfect parcour for Sagan under those circumstances.
    The result was that we got less than 1km worth watching.
     A total. :zzz2
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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

    Not My Circus

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    Yup.
    What a terrible race.
     Bora controlled the last couple of laps, but other teams either had the same game plan or no plan at all.
    Perfect parcour for Sagan under those circumstances.
    The result was that we got less than 1km worth watching.
     A total. :zzz2

    I caught the last 3km and was feeling sad to have missed most of it... seems I chose the right time to watch
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  • Echoes

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    Oliver Naesen, Luxury Domestique for the Belgian Rainbow Selection

    The Belgian Champion Has Had a Solid Reputation For One Year

    Beside Philippe Gilbert, present at the Tour of Britain, the 8 other representative of the Belgian selection are in Quebec, this week, in order to compete at the two now unavoidable classics, the Quebec GP on Friday and the Montreal GP on Sunday.

    Among these selected riders, the Belgian Champion Oliver Naesen has sparkling legs and mind. This irredeemably optimistic person, devouring life with a big appetite, is happy with his fate just as with his sport.
    Quote
    I like being here. These are two wonderful well-organised races. The Quebec race suits me better because the climbs are less sharp, more explosive, just like at the Tour of Flanders. My team AG2R even granted me the lead role. I am proud of it. Jan Bakelants needs to take it in Montreal where he was 4th last year.

    In one year time after his victory in Plouay, Oliver Naesen has had a wide reputation, surprising himself.

    Quote
    Because I like what I am doing but it's true that it all went fast and sometimes it was hard to adapt.

    From being an exemplary domestique the Waeslander turned out to be a true leader, taking his responsabilities in the Flemish races, last spring. In Bergen, on 24 September, he will not have that privilege, at least not on paper.

    Quote
    It's normal, isn't it? Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert have already won 260+ km long races. They belong to the World's top. I obviously have no reason to dispute that fact. Yet I'm just behind them. If I have good legs I will keep from racing right from the start because I may be reserve leader in case of a problem with Greg or with Phil. Quebec and Montreal will at least let me know where I am but also at what level the other guys are because among the favourites for the title, few are not here. The season has been long, hard and exhaustive and that situation suits me because I am still good in the second part of the season. I was a bit sick in the week of Plouay. I could not train a lot and that could be an advantage from here to Bergen at least.

    Oliver Naesen does not overlook any detail, as for his bike with national colours. Yet he had long hesitated with his build-up.

    Quote
    I hesitated with the Tour of Britain because there is the 8 stage length. It is obviously better but it is not hard enough. Sprinting everyday is not my thing. But this is all detail. The shape will tell. Next Sunday evening we will know everything or almost.

    It is a secret for nobody that Oliver Naesen is very close to Greg Van Avermaet who tried in vain to convince BMC to recruit him last year. So what would be his attitude towards Philippe Gilbert?
    Quote
    No question about that. Philippe Gilbert is a charming fellow, of exemplary correctness, always kind with others. On the relational level I have no doubt.

    The Rainbow race decided Oliver Naesen about cycling rather than Football at the dawn of his 15.
    Quote
    I watched the Worlds in Madrid (ED 2005) on television and then Tom Boonen won. I was euphoric and told my parents I wanted to try.

    Finally, one factor should not be overlooked: neither in Canada nor in Bergen: the rain.
    Quote
    Like anybody I'd rather race in nice weather but I'm not weaker (sic) if it rains, on the contrary it can be in my favour. I'm expecting it because the forecast looks pessimistic.

    In 2018, another Naesen will get to the World Tour ad Lawrence will leave Wallonie-Bruxelles for Lotto-Soudal.
    Quote
    It was better for him than coming to AG2R in order not to be "younger brother of" for his whole career. I'm proud of him [:)]. I hope he can have as much luck as I had, in that he would rarely be sick or crash. Actually yeah I crashed once, at the Tour of Flanders but it was not my fault. [:D]


    [comment under the picture]
    Oliver Naesen will take his responsabilities as a leader in Quebec where he could admire the famous Frontenac Castle
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  • Echoes

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    The Montreal Grand Prix










    3900m vertical gain. 205km

    The Côte de Camilien Houde is 1,8 km 8% av.gr.

    The Côte de Polytechnique is 780m long, 6% av.gr. 11% max. on the last 200m

    The finish on the Avenue du Parc is uphill false flat 4%.


    Camilien Houde was the Conservative Mayor of Montreal, elected several times in the thirties and then from 10 straight years between 1944 to 1954. Often at daggers drawn with Quebec's PM Maurice Duplessis, though from the same party (if I'm not mistaken).

    http://www.procyclingstats.com/race/Grand_Prix_Cycliste_de_Montreal__2017_Startlist


    Montreal was the setting of the 1974 World Championship. At that time the lap was the same:



    Eddy Merckx won the race covering the lap in 19'28" (final one). Poulidor at age 38 came second in a time of 19'30".



    Last year, Greg Van Avermaet completed the final lap in a time of roughly 16'35". To my knowledge, Simon Gerrans clocked the fastest time on the Camilien Houde circuit: 16'07"

    Of course, at the 1974 Worlds, the race was 262km long and the current riders have much lighter bikes. A lot of things have changed.

    Bernd Johansson was Olympic champion on the same Camilien Houde circuit in 1976 (then an amateur race).



    Between 1988 and 1992, the GP des Amériques was also held in Montreal. Though it also included the Camilien Houde climb, the circuit was a bit different. From 1989 to 1992 it was part of the UCI's World Cup. At that time financial problems made it stop. Too much investment for just one day in a country where cycling still wasn't popular at that time (see my Frans Maassen biography).

    The GP de Montreal and its Quebec counterpart have already lasted for a lot longer than the GP des Amériques. It seems like cycling is a lot more popular now than it was back then. In an article I might share with you if I have time for it, organiser Serge Arsenault (nice name :cool ) seems to think that the future of those two races are secure for another 10 years.  :cool So much the better. Even Marc Madiot, in his book "Parlons vélo!" (Talent Sport 2015, re-edited in 2017) does believe in the future of those two Canadian races because there is popularity while he's usually so critical of globalisation.  ;)

    Two former winners of the GP des Amériques: Steve Bauer and Eric Van Lancker

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  • Echoes

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    (Le Soir - 8 September)

    I am not Happy with My Season

    Tim Wellens wants to make the most of Autumn in order to put things back in order.

    A winner in Montreal in 2015, the Limburger hopes he can do it again next Sunday in order to forget about the disillusions of the Ardennes classics and mostly at the Tour of France.

    The moment a rider has put a Canadian classic on his palmares, he gets hyped as a planetary star in beautiful Quebec [sic, it's not planetary if it's just in Quebec]. Tim Wellens had the privilege to make the trip first class, among other greats. It's true that his achievement in 2015 is still in everybody's memory in Montreal. In torrential rain he emerged solo [actually with Adam Yates if I remember correctly?], justifying once again his nickname "Rain Man", a situation that is just moderately amusig him because heat is really a handicap for him, as he could experience at the last Tour of France.

    Questions by Stéphane Thirion:

    Tim, you had to leave the Tour of France, overwhelmed by heat. Have you found the reason for your health issues?

    Long story. I underwent loads of exams which have been analysed by specialists at the Leuven University. I know that it has nothing to do with pollen allergy. When it's hot, I cannot find my power again. I'm breathing normally. That's not the problem but I'm losing half of my strength.

    Does it worry you for the rest of your career?

    I sincerely hope the doctors are going to find out. When I moved to Monaco it was in order to get accustomed to heat, in order to permanently train in conditions that I ... hate but it didn't help at all, on the contrary. I cannot do anything about it right now and it's sad to say but I'm glad to be in Canadian's freshness where the conditions are more suitable for me. [should be added that in other interviews which I also shared with you, Tim Wellens never denied that moving to Monaco was also motivated by tax reason. You may bash him for that - it's not a problem for me though - but at least he is honest. Training in the heat is just another reason].

    After the Tour of France nightmare, you had the chance to get reassured with that stage win in Houffalize at the Lowlands Tour.

    A relieve. I had good sensations while training but it's better to show it in racing. It did me good.

    How do you rate your Montreal victory?

    There are two kinds of victories. In the Tour of Italy stage I was in the breakaway and it held through. In Montreal I was the strongest in the race. It's evidently different and brings more intoxicant satisfaction. That day I proved I could win a World Tour single-day race even though it's still the only one till date.

    Unless you do it again next Sunday?

    In any case I'm very motivated and still have a big appetite partly because I am not happy with my season.

    Four wins is not bad though?

    Honestly no. I had better results in 2016 and an athlete's aim is making progress, which is not (yet) the case this season. So I will get to the end of the agenda with Montreal, the Tour of Lombardy and the Guangzi Tour in order to win something.

    Is your pessimistic analysis linked to your Tour of France disappointment?

    Perhaps but I was already not happy with my Ardennes classics, which were my main objectives. Amstel Gold aside, I was average.

    A bad rider rarely gets selected for the Worlds.

    (laughs) I'm very proud. I think the national coach understood I had the legs. It's an honour to wear the national jerseys in such a team because the places are "expensive". When I see that Sep Vanmarce is not taken [which is a scandal  :angry] I realise how lucky I am. I won't disclose what the coach told me but my mission, rain or not is clear: I'm one of the seven to help Greg Van Avermaet or Philippe Gilbert to the title. I'm very fine with it. De Weert summoned us next Tuesday in Bergen for a team building. It's a good idea because even though we all know each other most of us are opponents for the rest of the year.

    Did what happened last July make you angry with the Tour of France?

    I have better memories of the Tour of Italy. I was twice second in stages at my first and won one at my second one. At the Tour of France I have none but André Greipel's four stage wins in 2015. It does not mean I will not get back but in 2018 it will certainly be the Tour of Italy.
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  • hiero

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    The Montreal Grand Prix


    Camilien Houde was the Conservative Mayor of Montreal, elected several times in the thirties and then from 10 straight years between 1944 to 1954. Often at daggers drawn with Quebec's PM Maurice Duplessis, though from the same party (if I'm not mistaken).



    I have to admit, you've completely lost me as to where this fits when describing the Montreal, or Quebecois, races!  :D
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  • Eeyore sez . . .

    Echoes

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    The main climb on Mount Royal and the whole circuit itself is named after Camilien Houde.

    I love French Canada and its history, so wrote down what sprang to my mind, not really thinking whether it was fitting or not.  :P I was rather typing in a hurry, to be honest.
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  • Echoes

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    Shouldn't we agree now that this man acts like a baby?

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  • Echoes

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    Le Soir 8 September (before Quebec)


    Greg Van Avermaet Ready for his Duels at the Top

    Like in 2016 the Waeslander is mixing it up with Sagan and with ambition.

    The World #1 is in Canada in order to defend his rank but that is not his major objective, he wants to win and measure his form before Bergen

    Out of breath in the never-ending halls of the Frontenac Hotel, the "most beautiful Hotel in Canada" says race organiser Serge Arsenault, Greg Van Avermaet pleasantly sighs:
    Quote
    I have never given that many interviews in a single day and it's not over!

    The Waeslander who loves being wall-sheltered in discretion could measure his breakneck rise to stardom in just two years time: an interview for TVA (#1 TV broadcaster in Quebec), covers in the old quarter of the city and many journalists he had never seen in Europe.

    A statistician counted 8 top10 in both races [now thus 10 of them], three top3 in Quebec [so 4 of them now] and a win in Montreal last year. The Olympic champion has been the most faithful and consistent on both Canadian classics since their creation.

    Van Avermaet speaks French better and better [as far as I remember he's always been pretty fluent] and in the official guide he reputedly said they were his favourite races, which surprised a lot. In interviews he diplomatically corrected, said he had two main objectives in spring: Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix but they are his favourite ones in the second part of the seasons. They are perfect for his style and the way he rides. He loves racing in circuits because you can find your marks but you need to be explosive in the end and to be able to attack at the right time. Since the end of the Tour of France he focused on his three main objectives of the second part of the season: those two races and the Worlds.

    Van Avermaet does not mind the fact that he has not won since the Tour of Luxembourg because there was nowhere he could win. The Tour of France was better suited to sprinters than to punchers and then he was twice top10 at the Clasica and in Plouay, which is at his rightful place. August is not the easiest month for a rider who can be active from February to October. With age he understood that he definitely needed to start September with maximum freshness and concentration. He read that his results were not as good as in 2016 but he knows where he's heading to and thinks he's at an excellent level. [he then said he had the best legs he's ever had in Montreal, I doubt it but of course last year was a different race]

    That is also why he did not wish to make a big thing out of the Lowlands Tour despite the Belgian stages.


    Stéphane Thirion said he/we had the feeling that Greg Van Avermaet raced those August race strictly for World Tour points but Greg politely swept this idea away [:o]
    Quote
    Do you remember who became World #1 these last few years? On the other hand nobody forgets about the palmares of the Tour of Flanders or of Paris-Roubaix so quickly, e.g. I do not start a race thinking about the ranking. I've come here in order to win one of them. I would sign with both hands for the same scenario as last year. If I win the ranking will be a bonus but it is not an obsession.

    His only obsession is the Worlds.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    That was interesting to read. I seriouly thought that Greg was motivated by the ranking. It was an idea by Allan Peiper if I remember well (article I shared with you on the BMC thread  ;)) but actually he does not care at all. Can we think it might actually matter to BMC more than to him?
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  • Echoes

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    Quebec GP: Serge Arsenault's Fights and Truths

    https://www.lequipe.fr/Cyclisme-sur-route/Actualites/Grand-prix-de-quebec-combats-et-verites-de-serge-arsenault/832495

    Founder and organisers of the Quebec and Montreal GP stigmatises the Cycling's leaders' immobilism

    Serge Arsenault (69 years old) is the founder (in 2010) of the Quebec and Montreal GP. This Canadian week is really loved by the riders because of the quality of the profile and the accomodation. It is ideally placed for some of the Worlds favourites (Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Michael Matthews, Rigoberto Uran, etc.). Before his World Tour races, this former TV journalist, owner of two TV broadcasters, is a bit like the head of a Gallic (though modern) village against the immobilism of cycling's leaders, according to himself. He says it without beating around the bush.

    The Grand Prix' Philosophy


    Quote
    Quebec and Montreal are the riders' races and not the ownership of the organisers. That is the view that has driven us right from the start. I have never phoned a team in order to tell them which riders should come. One day a team manager asked me a start bonus. I said "no you send whoever you want." A participation is not a podium. The podium is after the race.

    Their Funding

    Quote
    I've injected more than 70 million Canadian dollars into them (€48 million) since 2010. We agree to pay 6 times the cost of a European race. This is not whining. I like people to arrive on Tuesday and not on Wednesday in order to better cope with jet lag. It is a €300,000 detail.
     Why do they stay in one of Canada's most beautiful hotels (Frontenac Castle in Quebec)? I treat the riders like I would treat Nadal and Federer, Hamilton and Vettel ...

    Their Future

    Quote
    The GP's are safe for a decade. We have a project for a third race in the US, too crucial a country not to go. Those who go there now,
     it's in order to make money, not for cycling. If there is a third GP, we need to think about sprinters [say what  :o]. We need to invade the cities. Bring the riders towards the people and not the people towards the riders.



    The Red Flame of the Quebec GP is just before the Frontenac Castle where the riders are staying.

    His Criticism Towards the UCI and European Cycling

    Quote
    There is the Atlantic Ocean and a virtual ocean between European cycling and us. I understood. There is no bitterness. It's an observation. Some like the status quo better. Cui bono? I cannot grasp them, understand them, the trust is no longer there. We are killing each other because we are starving, because the product is not ready. Cycling is dead but I believe in its resurrection. In order to achieve that the UCI need to take their responsabilities, not to first think of their rights and privileges, to stop conflict of interests. Do your job.

    In 2018 the Tour of France is postponing its dates with a week because of the football World Cup. I am told: "are you also changing dates?
    " I said no. The weather will not wait. The hockey season will start a week after the GP's, so it's disturbing me. My hotels have been booked until 2020... It's been quickly settled. We've kept our dates but it shows incomprehension or ignorance. Or ill will not to feel things

    On the Impossibility to Get Along

    Quote
    It is the only sport which could be leading, without any international sponsors. Make sure you are on every continent and share but sharing does not exist. Everybody fears everybody. Money or lack of encourages to act badly. I still have dream but they are more and more oriented. I understood that for the worse of our sport, people could not get along with each other. It is in cycling's DNA and for some, a matter of survival. Since 2010 I've multiplied trips and meetings in Europe. In vain. There's been a one-hundred year cycling war.

    Every sport gets organised. Beach volley is better organised than cycling. The overlapping of events is making it unreadable for sponsors.
     There is incomprehension with regards to business. The GP's are held at the same time as the Tour of Spain. Just imagine Bernie Ecclestone placing Monza at the same time as Monaco. I take F1's example because in my opinion cyling should be F1 on two wheels. We should have the best riders at the greatest races.


    Say what !?!!!?? I've lost all respect for him there!  :o

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