June 3/14 12:47 pm - GP Saguenay Boasts Strong Field for First Edition
Posted by Editoress on 06/3/14
The Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay, celebrating its first edition, will feature some of the best names in Canadian and North-American cycling. The peloton will take to the streets of La Baie and Chicoutimi on Thursday, June 5th, and will compete for the top places in the general classification through Sunday.
More than 120 cyclists representing 18 cycling teams from seven countries are confirmed for the inaugural Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay, formerly known as the Nations Cup.
The list of starters includes several big names in cycling. Christina Watches-Kuma from Denmark has many riders with impressive backgrounds, including Stefan Schumacher, boasting two stage wins at the Giro d'Italia including two days wearing the Maglia Rosa, as well as victories of the 2007 Amstel Gold Race, the 2012 Tour of China II and 2012 Tour of Serbia.
Will Routley, former Canadian Champion and King of the Mountain and stage winner of the 2014 Tour of California, will be representing team Optum-Kelly Benefits alongside teammate Ryan Anderson, a powerful sprinter who finished third in the 2013 UCI America Tour rankings.
Racing for Team SmartStop is the recent USA National Championships winner, Eric Marcotte, who surprised everyone at the finish line to steal victory at the star-packed race and, as a result, will now proudly wear his new stars and stripes jersey. Also with SmartStop is former WorldTour rider Jure Kocjan, formerly with Euskaltel-Euskadi. Kocjan took second place at the Philadelphia Classic race last Sunday. Canadian Kris Dahl is racing Saguenay for SmartStop. Canadian Champion Zach Bell is a member of Team SmartStop, and was scheduled to race at the GP Saguenay, but is an unfortunate withdrawal, as he continues yo recover from a broken clavicle.
The UCI Pro Continental team Novo Nordisk, the world's first all-diabetes professional cycling team, is certainly one that will lead the way and will be marked by the peloton. Its ranks include Javier Megias, who has completed one Grand Tour (2010 Vuelta a Espana), and David Lozano, an 11-time Spanish National Mountain Bike Champion. The team, who has had past success at the Tour de Beauce and Tour of China, will arrive at Grand Prix Saguenay with firm intentions to grab no less than the top honours. This year alone, the team has earned four podium appearances, three special jerseys and five top 10 finishes.
Team Jamis-Hagens Berman is also among those teams that will content for the win. The team is currently standing atop the NRC Standings in the United States, boasting three stage wins at the Tour of Gila this year, including a podium sweep on the first stage.
Nic Hamilton, who just finished in third place on the European race An Post Ras in Ireland with the Canadian National team, will race for Team Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, and is in top form as he continues his preparations for the Canadian Championships coming up later this month. His teammate Serghei Tvetcov is the only rider who has podiumed this year for Jelly Belly, a stage victory at the Tour of Gila.
Quebec cyclist Bruno Langlois will be present at the race wearing the colors of the always surprising 5-Hour Energy team. Langlois won the KOM of the UCI WorldTour Grand Prix cycliste de Québec in 2012. The team has been the Top continental team for the Tour of Alberta and the Tour of California in 2013.
Several Quebec teams will be present at the starting line, including both UCI Continental teams registered in Canada - Garneau-Quebecor and Silber Pro Cycling. Those two teams are represented by several Quebec cyclists.
Garneau-Quebecor has been very successful in focusing its efforts on criterium racing in the United States this season. They could steal the show on Saturday night, with the reigning Canadian Crit Champion Pierrick Naud ready to battle. Also watch for Remi-Pelletier Roy, who could play a big role for the team.
Silber Pro Cycling keeps growing, with the recent signature of 2012 Canadian Champion Ryan Roth and Matteo Dal-Cin. In Philadelphia last Sunday, they did well, securing their first top 10 of the season with a ninth place by Ryan Roth. Both the new riders will be making the trip to Saguenay with their new team.
Do not overlook the presence of the Italian team Amore-Vita, which has within its ranks three powerful Canadian cyclists in Michael Woods, James Piccoli and Alex Cataford.
Team Budget Forklifts of Australia, embarking on a three-race North American trip, will be racing for the first time ever in Canada, and have many General classification riders that could contend for the top place in the GC. Eyes will be on sprinter Jesse Kerrison, with six Green Jerseys in the Australian NRC series in 2013, GC rider Michael Vink, with a victory at the 2014 New Zealand Cycle Classic, and former Garneau-Quebecor rider Samuel Witmitz.
Quebec teams Norco Premier Tech and Transport Lacombe will also partake in the race, joined by Ontario-based teams Ride with Rendall and National Cycling Centre Hamilton-DEC.
Teams from seven countries will participate in the inaugural edition of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay: Australia, Denmark, Ukraine, Italy, the United States, Colombia, and Canada.
Team Novo Nordisk (USA) [UCI ProContinental]
Team Garneau-Quebecor (CAN) [UCI Continental]
Team Silber Pro Cycling (CAN) [UCI Continental]
Team 5-Hr Energy p/b Kenda (USA) [UCI Continental]
Team Astellas Cycling (USA) [UCI Continental]
Team Jamis Hagens Berman (USA) [UCI Continental]
Team Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis (USA) [UCI Continental]
Team Optum p/b Kelly-Benefits Strategies (USA) [UCI Continental]
Team Smartstop (USA) [UCI Continental]
Team Budget Forklifts Cycling (AUS) [UCI Continental]
Team 4-72 Colombia (COL) [UCI Continental]
Team Christina Watches-Kuma (DEN) [UCI Continental]
Team Amore-Vita (ITA) [UCI Continental]
Team ISD Continental (UKR) [UCI Continental]
Team Norco-Premier Tech (CAN)
Team Transport Lacombe (CAN)
Team Ride with Rendall p/b Biemme (CAN)
Team NCCH- DEC (CAN)