Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Barbeau; Hesjedal to go to London


Click to enlarge photo(s)
Louis Barbeau speaks at Les Mardis Cyclistes press conference
photo © Pasquale Stalteri / Miroir du Cyclisme 
Barbeau says Hesjedal should go to London;
Not a conflict with the Tour de France…


May 29, 2012 (Lachine, QC) – Speaking at the 2012 Mardis Cyclistes season launch press conference, Quebec cycling federation (FQSC) director Louis Barbeau urged the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) to choose Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) for the Canadian road team at the London Olympics this summer. Hesjedal, of course, is the winner of the recent 2012 Giro (Tour of Italy).

A tanned Barbeau explained that he was in Italy for a Paracycling World Cup and turned out for the finish of the May 5--27 Giro. “I was with people from the Italian cycling federation and they were hoping that Ryder would win. And this is only partly because they preferred seeing a Canadian on top of the podium rather than a Spaniard!

What Ryder did there was incredible and the CCA should choose him for the London 2012 national team,” continued Barbeau. “And Ryder could potentially race in [the June 30—July 22] Tour de France and then compete at the Olympic road race in London [on July 28]. [British cyclist Mark] Cavendish (Team Sky) is doing both! London is only a one-day race…”  Barbeau did not answer whether he thought Hesjedal would prefer competing at the TdF rather than the Olympics.

The only spot on the men’s Olympic team should go to Ryder. Let’s hope that he will inspire youths to get into cycling,” added Barbeau. There has been some controversy over who should take Canada’s one berth on the men’s road team at the London Olympics. Other contenders include Mike Barry (Sky), Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEDGE), and David Veilleux (Europcar). Barbeau’s enthusiastic support for Hesjedal was highlighted by a banner at the Mardis Cyclistes press conference that read: “Ryder Hesjedal, champion Giro d’Italie 2012. Bravo et merci.

Barbeau also noted something in common between Hesjedal, defending TdF champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), and defending Mardis Cycliste champion Jean-François Laroche (Fantino-Cycles Régis): all three started their cycling careers on mountain bikes. “This shows that the different disciplines within cycling can complement each other,” he noted. And he joked how Laroche works during the day as a lawyer, “but can really pedal hard on Tuesday evenings!

The formula developed by [Mardis organizer Joseph ‘Tino ‘] Rossi proved very popular among Quebec cyclists,” mentioned Barbeau. “Cyclists come in from the far corners of Quebec to race here: Lac St. Jean and the Townships. Year after year, Rossi has created a ‘bicycle festival’ here in Lachine.

Rossi described the Lachine crits as a launching pad for many talented Canadian riders. He believes that Hesjedal raced in Lachine at some point in the past 35 years, but admitted to not being clear on dates. Some international stars have also raced in Lachine; including Evans who raced one stage about 10 years ago.

Laroche spoke about how wonderful it is that the Mardis series are enjoying their 35th year. He spoke about how he is the best of friends with Martin Gilbert (SpiderTech) when they’re not racing. “But when we race we’re the worst enemies. There is a lot of fierce elbowing going on!

As reported previously, the Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc has signed on as the series’ new title sponsor for a period of three years.  Eric Laurence VP,  Logistics and Distribution at PJC said that his company is proud to be associated with the Mardis Cyclistes in what many see as a focus on healthy lifestyles and the family. Laurence also revealed that he is a triathlete and will be competing at upcoming events in Lake Placid, NY and at Mt. Tremblant.

Hannah Parish, representing Specialized Canada, spoke about how her company is also proud to be among those supporting the Mardis series. She also mentioned that two Specialized executives, Larry Koury and Serge Lacroix, used to race at the Mardis Lachine crits between 1978 and 1988. Parish spoke together with Evelyne Forget, co-owner of Bicycles Quilicot, a major retailer of Specialized products.


1 comments:

This is a joke right? The person to go to Olympics should be the best ITTer, where a Canadian has the best chance of a good results. Canada gets One person in the RR and has not a hope in HELL. IF Hesjedal goes in the RR he will be a marked man or enlisted to help 'teammate' Tyler Farrer race against Mark Cavandish in the SPRINT. Cavandish will have an entire team build around him and it is a SPRINTERs course.

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