Posted by Editoress on 09/10/10
Thursday, 24 hours before the start of the GP Cycliste de Quebec, a press conference was held with former Tour de France racer Charly Mottet, who regularly works with the UCI as a course consultant, and has been retained by the GPC Quebec and and Montreal race organization to perform the same function. Also present was Bernard Vallet, a former Best Climber in the Tour de France (1982), and consultant to the race organization.
Question: 24 hours to the race start, how are things?
Charly Mottet: Everything is going well, and according to plan. The start list shows how important this race is, the field is as strong as any European ProTour race. The riders have the best conditions possible; they were flown by the organizers to arrive three days before the first race for rest and recovery.
I remember for the GP des Ameriques (World Cup in Montreal, early '90s), which I raced, we had a jet lag problem, but this time no problem. Everything points to a great race for tomorrow.
Bernard Vallet: Everything has been very good. we were worried because a strike in Europe that the rider flight might be delayed, but it had no effect. I remember the GP des Ameriques, and it was very well run, but this is even better now. So, we should have two great races.
Question: Some riders, who have done the Tour de Beauce have ridden this course before. Will this be an advantage?
CM: Yes, it is an advantage to have ridden here, but only for the first few laps; over the whole race I do not think as much.
Question: These two course are quite different in some ways, who is suited to each course?
CM: I think that the two courses are mostly similar, but Quebec is a little more 'nervous', and there are less places to recuperate, especially on the climbs. I think it is very technical, with lots of [gear] shifting. In Montreal, the climbs are more consistent, more steady. But both finishes are very hard, a straight line uphill. I think for this course (Quebec), [Daminao] Cunego, [Peter] Sagan or [Sammy] Sanchez would be good on this type of course. [Ryder] Hesjedal I think will do better in Montreal, it suits him better.
BV: I agree with Charly, Quebec has a quicker climb and the descent is very fast, so there is no time to get back on. I think small groups will get dropped along the way, and not get back on. I also think Ballan could do very well; the Italians are always super-motivated by the Worlds, so they will be building here. And Hesjedal, he didn't just come here to be first on the start list.
Question: Are there any other ProTour courses that compare to these ones?
CM: Not really, there are very few on closed circuits. Maybe Plouay, but it is an easier circuit. These are more like a Worlds course. They are not to be taken lightly, and each brings 80 points [to the winner], so riders and teams are very motivated - there are almost as many points available here for doif well in the two races as there are for a good ride at the Vuelta.
Question: There is an argument that the best preparation for the Worlds is the Vuelta, so how can riders be convinced to come here?
CM: It is true that riders need the hours on the bike, so that Vuelta could be good preparation, but most who use the Vuelta [to prepare for the Worlds] don't complete it. A solution could be to make these [Quebec and Montreal] races longer, 250 kilometres like the Worlds. We are discussing that for the future.
BV: The trend is to say that the Vuelta is the best, but there have been other trends. For example, the Giro was the best preparation for the Tour until [Lance] Armstrong used Dauphine, and now others use it instead of Giro. If the next world champion raced here before, then next year, everyone would come here!
Question: Have you thought of a stage race rather than two one day races?
CM: Not really. The setting in Quebec is ideal for one day races. Everything is one the spot, everything you need. It would be a waste to go town to town and not use these great circuits. We have to think different for races outside of Europe.
Question: If you had to pick a winner with your head and with your heart, which would it be in each case?
BV: It is always difficult in cycling to separate the head and the heart, but for logic I would pick [Pter] Sagan, and for heart [Sylvain] Chavanel. For Montreal, my heart choice would be Ryder Hesjedal.
CM: I don't want to pick a favourite, I just want to have beautiful race.
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