Israel – Premier Tech is back on Canadian soil with hometown heroes Hugo Houle and Guillaume Boivin ready to put on a show at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec and Montreal this week.
The two one-day races on Friday and Sunday return for the first time since 2019 and Tour de France stage winner Houle couldn’t be happier to be back on his home roads.
“It’s really to special to back in Canada to race, especially after the year I have had with the Tour de France win. I had amazing support from Canadian fans so I am happy to be back here again and race in front of everyone, especially my family and friends. We have a strong team for the two races and after a pause in racing after Denmark, I’m feeling good so I hope to have good legs on the day. I think we can have a few cards to play and if we race well, we will come away here some nice results,” said House.
Boivin echoes Houle’s sentiment, drawing on the extra motivation that comes with the race chance to race in Canada.
“I’m super happy to be back racing at home as it has been three years. For us as Canadians, we are always super motivated to race at home but I think the whole bunch is looking forward to these races. I think the form is quite good and we have a super strong team here so hopefully we get some good results and some much needed points. I think on paper, Quebec suits my characteristics a bit better. I’ve made the front group a few times in Montreal but I need to really on my top form and maybe get a bit of a headwind on the climb,” explain Boivin.
IPT’s first Tour de France winner Simon Clarke lines up alongside the Canadian duo, as well as Maryland Cycling Classic winner Sep Vanmarcke, sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo, and climbers Jakob Fuglsang and Krists Neilands.
For Canadian Sports Director Steve Bauer, IPT’s strength will be the versatility of its roster.
“We are really excited to be back in Canada at the GP Cycliste de Quebec and Montreal. They are great races and, of course, particularly important for Israel – Premier Tech with our Canadian ties and riders. We have a strong team for both races and I believe we have many riders who can do well,” added Bauer.
“Of course, for Hugo Houle and Guillaume Boivin, racing on home soil always gives extra motivation. We have Sep Vanmarcke coming in off his win in Maryland, alongside Giacomo Nizzolo, Jakob Fuglsang, Simon Clarke, and Krists Neilands, who are all in great shape. Quebec is typically suited to a punchy rider with a good sprint whereas Montreal’s altitude meters play a big role in reducing the field so here, our climbers can really test their legs. Our guys and healthy and motivated so we are not lining up at either race with a dedicated leader, it will really come down to who has the best legs on the day.”