VN news ticker: GP Québec, Montréal canceled for 2021, Annemiek van Vleuten to skip La Course and Giro d’Italia

Here's the news making the headlines on Thursday, June 10.

Photo: James Startt

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Canadian races at Quebec, Montreal canceled for 2021

Race organizers said Thursday ongoing troubles with COVID-19 forced them to cancel a pair of WorldTour races scheduled for September in Canada.

It marks the second year in a row that pair of one-day races are canceled due to the world pandemic.

“Following a thorough analysis of the situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in Canada and internationally, Événements GPCQM has come to the conclusion that the public-health and operational requirements in effect will not permit the holding of the Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal on September 10 and 12,” a press note read. “Together with its public and private partners, the organizers regret to announce that they must cancel the 2021 races.”

Organizers say the September dates are already confirmed for the 2022 calendar.

“As of today, the organizers of major Canadian events still have no guarantees that the public health regulations needed to hold the Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal will be in effect at the end of the summer. There are still too many uncertainties regarding the opening of borders, mandatory quarantine and conditions for large gatherings,” said Sébastien Arsenault, President and CEO, Événements GPCQM. “This is a difficult decision to make for a second year in a row, but it would not have been responsible or respectful of the racers, teams and spectators to postpone this decision any further. We look forward to seeing them next year and promise a memorable return of the UCI WorldTour to Canadian soil.”

Annemiek van Vleuten to miss La Course and Giro d’Italia Donne

Annemiek van Vleuten will skip La Course and the Giro d’Italia Donne this season as she focuses solely on the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Van Vleuten revealed on her website this week that her only competitive action ahead of traveling to Tokyo will be at the Dutch national road and time trial championships later this month.

Van Vleuten is a former winner of both races and finished fifth in last year’s La Course, while she crashed out of the 2020 Giro Rosa with a broken wrist while in the pink jersey. Rather than racing ahead of the Olympics, van Vleuten will spend most of her time at altitude on the Passo di Foscangno in the Italian Alps.

“At the moment, it is still uncertain whether we can train outside in Tokyo. There are still a lot of uncertainties, but I have no influence on that, so I try not to concern myself with that,” van Vleuten wrote on her website.

“What I do have an influence on is my program and the Giro Rosa is missing this time. It hurts me a lot not to ride it because it’s my favorite race but every time I think ‘I’m just going to ride it’, I look again at the scar on my wrist, where I broke my wrist in the Giro five days before the world time trial championship.

“In addition, I am convinced that you can prepare a time trial better with a training camp and less well in a road race. In addition, you have no control over how hard the racing is, you have to travel a lot, you have the pressure of defending a classification and so it is mentally tough as well. On the other hand, on the Passo di Foscagno, I can recharge myself mentally.”

Emanuel Buchmann to ride the Tour de France

After crashing out of the Giro d’Italia while sitting comfortably in the top 10, Emanuel Buchmann will make his racing return at the Tour de France later this month.

Buchmann was involved in the mass pile-up on stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia that forced organizers to neutralize the racing for more than 20 minutes as ambulance crews attended to the wounded. Buchmann avoided any broken bones in the incident, but he sustained a mild concussion and a wound to the inside of his lower lip.

The Bora-Hansgrohe team is already stacked for the Tour de France with Peter Sagan and Pascal Ackermann set to ride. Buchmann will start in a support role for GC hopeful Wilco Kelderman but could find himself in a protected position if he goes well.

“My crash at the Giro was very bitter. I was in really good shape and am convinced that I could have ridden right up front there,” Buchmann said. “The motivation came back quite quickly and that’s why I went to the training camp last week to see where I stood. My knee continued to be slightly sore for a while, however, everything is okay now.

“I want to take the Tour day by day without pressure, taking my chances and riding offensively when possible. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m writing off the overall classification from the outset, but with Wilco there, we’ll have a leader who has been able to prepare himself in the most optimal way. He will be the clear number one there and I will also give him my full support where necessary.”

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