Tour de France: a first for cycling in Quebec

COPENHAGEN | Quebecois Guillaume Boivin secretly arrived at 109am yesterdaye Tour de France, just in time to take part in the grandiose presentation of the riders in front of tens of thousands of spectators in Tivoli.

• Also read: The Tour de France 2022: in the world capital of cycling

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This is a great first for Quebec Cycling with three athletes at the most beautiful race in the world.

It was almost 4pm in Copenhagen when plans for the day changed dramatically. A Twitter post announced the immediate removal of Israeli Omer Goldstein, who is at high risk of transmitting COVID-19 due to close contact. The misfortune of one made the happiness of the other.


Guillaume Boivin

Photo by Jean Francois Racine

Guillaume Boivin

Antoine Duchesne, who learned the good news a few hours in advance, had set a nice fishing line by asking during his interview if the local media had really spoken to all Quebecers.

A surprise

When I contacted Boivin, it wasn’t news from Montreal-Trudeau International Airport that echoed on the line, but the voice of Hugo Houle laughing.

“Stop bothering him, he needs to get ready for a race!”

And boom. Boivin was in Denmark for his second Tour de France.

“COVID created the opportunity,” said Sylvan Adams, Team Principal at Israel-Premier Tech.

Another team player, Daryl Impey, is in a similar situation but a decision will be made in his case today.

relief

Arrived late in the morning, Boivin no longer knew the day and time, but after a grandiose parade in the center of the Danish capital at 7:30 p.m., he was beaming on stage with all his teammates.

“It’s just sick to see the world. I was told to do a PCR test and come over. I’ve been hoping for this since the beginning of the year. I’m just happy to be here”, a relieved Boivin started under the screams of a crowd that only had it for the Dane Jakob Fuglsang.


Quebec teammates Guillaume Boivin and Hugo Houle

Photo by Jean Francois Racine

Quebec teammates Guillaume Boivin and Hugo Houle

After last weekend’s Canadian Championship in Edmonton, Boivin was preparing to return to Montreal to spend the month of July. Instead, he crossed the Atlantic a second time within a few days.

A privilege

“I’m not here for nothing. I will do my best to have a good rest. I’m on adrenaline and it’s a privilege to do the tour. Nothing will stop me from enjoying it!” added the 33-year-old pro.

“He had sent me a photo of his plane ticket but I didn’t know if the announcement was made. We never do a big tour together, the three of them!” Duchesne explained.

After a superb ninth place finish at Paris-Roubaix last year, Boivin has long had his sights set on stage five of the Grande Boucle, which consists of 11 cobbled sections.

“It’s incredible to see so many Quebec cyclists ending up in the Tour de France. Their presence is an encouragement to the runners who follow them,” said Quebec Federation of Cycling Sports director Louis Barbeau.

Four Canadians

With Canadian Michael Woods a long time cyclist at Gatineau, Quebec fans will have four bib numbers to keep an eye on.

“I want to chase the stages in weeks two and three. That’s the goal,” he said.

Around 10:45pm, at dusk, this crazy day ended with fireworks. Citizens deserve the pyrotechnics as Denmark would have spent more than 16 million Canadian dollars to host three stages of the Tour de France.

Duchesne must deliver the goods


The two friends Guillaume Boivin (left) and Antoine Duchesne will be opponents in the Tour de France.

Photo by Jean Francois Racine

The two friends Guillaume Boivin (left) and Antoine Duchesne will be opponents in the Tour de France.

COPENHAGEN | A model team-mate, Antoine Duchesne is already feeling some pressure from the big departure in Denmark.

“From this weekend it’s really important for me. I have to be 100% ready on Saturday and don’t have five or six days to adjust,” he said with Olympic calm despite everything.

At Groupama-FDJ we think we can surprise in the general standings with David Gaudu who finished 11the rank last year. The 25-year-old Frenchman becomes the sole leader and Thibaut Pinot his ‘guardian angel’.

voltage

“I’ve never approached a big tour so well prepared. I’m mainly there for the first six days. It won’t be physically demanding every day, but there are tensions with the wind and the falls. You don’t win anything in the first week, but you can lose everything,” adds Duchesne.

A new dad for two months, he sees his choice in 2022 as a personal challenge. His wife flew to Quebec alone with their son to visit family for the first time. The grandfathers still hadn’t seen their grandson.


Antoine Duchesne

Photo by Jean Francois Racine

Antoine Duchesne

“I couldn’t wait for them to land to know everything was fine. I also anticipate the thought of telling myself that I’m missing a third of his life. It’s a choice, but it’s more stress in the mind,” said the 30-year-old Saguenean.

He dreams of arriving on the Champs-Élysées in Paris before his whole family.

Over the years, Duchesne became friends with Thibaut Pinot, who also overcame some difficulties in his career.

“Antoine, we have had a pretty strong relationship for several years. In his role, he is one of the best in the team,” said the Frenchman, who in 2014 can boast three stage wins and third place overall.

“We have a similar sense of humor. we are real friends He knows my family and has the same passion for farming. He has sheep, goats, cows, a horse and a real farm! It makes our trips more enjoyable,” concludes Duchesne.

Of course

His boss ended the few criticisms that could be heard in Europe about the Quebecer’s choice in the team. We also understand that his unifying side is valued.

“When we form the tour team, we do so first in relation to the proposed route. There are sometimes selections that can surprise from the outside, but we often find that it is quite logical,” concluded Marc Madiot, who has competed in the Tour de France nine times.

In the notebook…

  • Nine years later David Veilleuxwho became the first native Québec to take part in the Tour de France in 2013, three of them are now competing, even though our climate is not more favourable.
  • Several teams are holding their opening press conference in some way Virtual and the runners are all wearing an N95 mask again.
  • To be able to chat with outside of the hotel Antoine Duchesne, the negotiations were not easy. His team demanded the mask, but also proof of a negative antigen test. We had to make a trip to the pharmacy and then rub our noses with a swab. Real fears or madness, the rules are tightening in the face of Europe’s seventh wave.
  • Ice hockey keeps popping up in Denmark too. gaspard, a journalist for the Ouest-France newspaper, wanted to speak yesterday about the NHL draft and the Canadian’s first pick. And the death of Guy Lafleur!
  • The Israel Premier Tech Travel with a very strong delegation and a slightly above average management staff. Including the eight cyclists, there are a total of more than forty people who mainly take care of care, nutrition and mechanics.

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