The WorldTour peloton will meet in Canada on September 8th and 10th for the Grands Prix Cyclistes of Québec and Montreal. The two races have become major events in the calendar and their challenging courses constitute an ideal preparation for the upcoming World Championships. Both the Grands Prix of Québec and Montreal consist of several laps through the streets of the Canadian cities.

 The Grand Prix Cycliste of Québec features sixteen 12.6 kilometres laps and covers a total distance of 201.6 kilometres. There are no less than four steep climbs on the course. The riders will first come across the Côte de la Montagne nine kilometres into the lap. This climb is 375 metres long and averages 10%, with some parts up to 13%. The riders will then face three other climbs in the two last kilometres of the circuit: the Côte de la Potasse (420 metres at 9%), the Montée de la Fabrique (190 metres at 7%) and the Montée du Fort. This last one is also the longest of them all, with one kilometre at 4%. The finish line is located at the top of the last climb.

 The Grand Prix Cycliste of Montreal will take place two days later. The 205.7 kilometres race is very similar to the GP of Québec, with seventeen laps on a hilly 12.1 kilometres circuit. The riders will first ride up the Côte Camillien-Houde, which is the longest climb of the course. It is 1.8 kilometres long and averages 8%. The 780 metres-long Côte de Polytechnique is situated two kilometres further and is next on the menu. This climb may not be the longest, but it includes a 200 metres section at 11%. The Avenue du Parc is the last difficulty before the final technical U-turn, and its 4% average over 560 metres might be crucial for the outcome of the race. 

 This Canadian weekend will bring back some good memories for Lotto Soudal. Tony Gallopin finished third in Montreal in 2014 and Tim Wellens won this very same race one year later. Both Gallopin and Wellens will once again take part in the two events. 

  Herman Frison, sports director: « These are really exciting races, with good organization and strong riders at the start. The course in Québec can be compared to a World Championship. It’s too often underestimated, but it’s usually down to a reduced group of riders in the finale, where a straight two kilometres long sprint in a false flat takes place. Only the strongest riders can claim the victory in Québec, the sprinters usually don’t make the final cut. The race in Montreal is even more challenging, and there are only thirty or forty riders left who can compete for the victory. »

 « The riders left Belgium for France on Monday evening, and they then took a plane to Québec on Tuesday. There is a time difference of six hours, and they will have their first training ride on Wednesday. It will be an easy hundred kilometres spin in the beautiful region of Québec. It shouldn’t be too hard, as the first race is already on Friday. On Saturday morning, the riders will have a 350 kilometres bus transfer to Montreal, where the second race takes place. Our objective is to get good results in both of these events, and we’ll hopefully get the win in one of them. We’re here with some riders such as Benoot and Gallopin who are currently in peak condition. The race in Québec may suit Gallopin better, as he is our fastest man in a sprint, and he can position himself very well. Our team might be even stronger in Montreal with Gallopin of course, but Benoot and Wellens can also perform very well on this challenging course. »

 Tim Wellens: « These are two of the most exciting races on the calendar, together with the Ardennes Classics. Good hotel, good organization and beautiful courses. If you’ve won here in the past, you always come with some kind of confidence: you know you can do well in these races. The course in Québec is probably a bit more « Flemish-like », while Montreal can be compared to the Ardennes, where the climbs are a little longer. The two races are both enjoyable and challenging, and the decisive move often happens in the final lap, and in Québec it’s even in the last two kilometres.  Montreal is a sort of « drop-out » race, where only the strongest riders make it to the last lap. You think that any attack can be decisive, but it always comes down to the last kilometres of the race. Rain is expected in Québec on Friday, and it can certainly reshuffle the cards. I’m really looking forward to these two races, and there are, like every year, a lot of strong riders at the start. It certainly won’t be easy, but some riders of our team are in really good form, and we should be able to claim some good results. »

 Line-up Lotto Soudal: Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Sean De Bie, Jasper De Buyst, Tony Gallopin, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports director: Herman Frison