Julian Alaphilippe headlines our seven-man squad for the only World Tour races held in North America.
The first of these events, scheduled on Friday, is the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec, which will see the peloton cover 16 laps of a 12.6km circuit that includes four demanding climbs: Côte de la Montagne (375 m, 10%), Côte de la Potasse (420 m, 9%), Montée de la Fabrique (190 m, 7%) and Montée du Fort (1000 m, 4%).
Then, Sunday afternoon, the bunch will take on the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal (221.4 kilometers), another race run on a local circuit, this time 12.3 kilometers in length, similar to the one used at the World Championships won by Eddy Merckx almost five decades ago. Côte Camillien-Houde (1800 m, 8%), Côte de Polytechnique (780 m, 6%) and Avenue du Parc (560 m, 4%) will be the day’s three difficulties, which should fragment the peloton and advantage the attackers, especially in the closing laps.
Double World Champion Julian Alaphilippe will compete in the two Canadian events for the first time in 2019, part of a strong Soudal Quick-Step team that will have more than one card to play. Joining him in Quebec and Montreal will be Dries Devenyns, Fausto Masnada, Mauro Schmid, Jannik Steimle, Ilan Van Wilder – who just a couple of weeks ago won a stage and the overall classification at the Deutschland Tour – and Mauri Vansevenant.
“We are bringing a strong and motivated team to the start this weekend. These two races are beautiful but never easy, it’s up and down, left and right all the time, but we come to the start very confident in our chances of being up there when it will matter. The squad we have can control the race and get involved in the fight for a good result with several riders, so we’re looking forward to Friday and Sunday”, explained sports director Davide Bramati.
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