For the first time in history, three Quebec cyclists are taking part in the Tour de France. Alongside Hugo Houle and Antoine Duchesne, Guillaume Boivin has been called up to replace a potentially positive COVID-19 teammate.
Posted at 11:50am
Three days after his second place finish at the Canadian Championships in Edmonton, Boivin has arrived in Copenhagen at 109e Start of the tour that will be given in the city center on Friday. He will accompany his team to the official presentation on Thursday evening in the Tivoli Gardens.
His team, Israel-Premier Tech (IPT), announced on Wednesday that the Quebecer will take the place of Israeli Omer Goldstein, who management deems a “high-risk contact.” The presence of South African veteran Daryl Impey is also considered uncertain.
This is Boivin’s second participation in the world’s largest cycling event. Last year the sprinter came to Paris with 105e overall ranking. The 33-year-old athlete, who finished ninth in Paris-Roubaix last year, was joined by Hugo Houle, then riding for Astana and with whom he then competed at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 2021 Canadian champion, the first substitute for IPT, was deeply disappointed to miss out on the selection of the Israeli-Canadian formation. His participation in the Critérium du Dauphiné, a preparatory stage race, had been canceled so that he could compete in smaller races in Belgium. IPT made this decision to earn UCI points and avoid relegation from the WorldTour category next year.
Boivin and Houle will wear the colors of IPT, as will Michael Woods, originally from Ottawa but now based in the Gatineau area. For his part, Duchesne will be appearing on his second tour since 2016 with Groupama-FDJ.
David Veilleux is the first native Quebecer to compete in the Tour de France in 2013. Pierre Gachon, a Parisian who immigrated to Quebec as a teenager, is the first Canadian to compete in 1937.
The seventh wave of COVID-19 and its many variants in Europe have teams fearing the worst with 48 hours to go. Most hold their opening press conference virtually. Ag2R-La Mondiale was one of the few teams to show up at the press center but all riders wore an N95 type mask. Luxembourger Bob Jungels, suspected case, stayed at the hotel.
After a 13.2 km long time trial on Friday, the next two stages will also be presented in Denmark. The peloton will move to Dunkirk for stage four on Monday.