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Road Championships | The best Canadian cyclists avoid the World Championships

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Most of Canada’s top riders will be conspicuously absent from the Road World Championships in Wollongong, Australia, September 18-25.

Posted at 5:00

Simone Drouin

Simone Drouin
The print

After Hugo Houle, who had announced his parcel to The print on the eve of the arrival of the Tour de France, Michael Woods, Guillaume Boivin and Antoine Duchesne preferred to skip the round. They regret having to bear the cost of the plane ticket to get to the event.

The fatigue of the season, the long escape at the antipodes and the need to collect points to avoid the relegation of his Israel-Premier Tech (IPT) professional team are three reasons given by Houle to explain his retirement.

But the Canadian federation’s request to travel at their own expense has particularly annoyed, if not shocked.

“We don’t see the point”

“Canadian cycling cannot afford to send athletes,” the Tour stage winner reiterated in an interview Thursday. So it’s entirely at our expense. Of course, this doesn’t interest me. Guillaume Boivin refused the invitation, even Antoine Duchesne. If we have to pay, we don’t see the point [d’y aller]. It will be interesting to see who will fund the federation. ”

One thing is for sure, so it won’t be his teammate Boivin. Best Canadian with 17And placed on the very selective Louvain course last year, the 33-year-old cyclist had nevertheless expressed his strong desire to redeem a difficult season on another circuit that suited him in Australia.


PHOTO SUPPLIED BY ISRAEL-PREMIER TECH

Guillaume Boivin

” Yup, [ça m’intéressait], but apparently we don’t have money in Canada to pay for plane tickets and things like that for our athletes, he said on the phone Friday. “

“So I decided I didn’t want to pay out of my own pocket to go to the World Cup. At the age we have reached, we have already paid off in our careers [pour participer à de tels évènements]. “

With the seasons we have done and the results we have had over the years, I found it a bit disrespectful to ask us to pay. I decided not to go there because it is expensive, but also on principle.

Guillaume Boivin

After the crash at the third stage of the Vuelta, Woods, another member of the IPT, prefers to focus on the Italian classics, including the Giro di Lombardia on 8 October.

“With the long trip to Australia, it would be difficult to run well in Italy,” said the bronze medalist at the 2018 World Championships and fifth at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. “Also, it is less motivating. [d’y prendre part] knowing that the race is entirely financed by the runners. ”

Withheld from costs

Duchesne said yes on the sidelines of his second Tour de France. But his finger broken by a fall in the second stage of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, on August 24, led him to change his mind. Relatively battered, the Groupama-FDJ member is doing everything possible to be as fresh as possible at the Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec and Montréal on 9 and 11 September. It is not impossible that he will finish his season at the end of the Mount Royal race.


PHOTO THOMAS SAMSON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESS ARCHIVE

Antoine Duchesne (left)

That said, Duchesne admits he is “a little held back” by the cost of the trip.

“I find it pretty crazy, he said from France. Especially when we consider the performances that elite men have achieved in the last four or five years. They always told us we didn’t have a budget because we didn’t perform. There, we perform and we don’t have a budget yet. “

I understand there are dips, but I can’t wait to see how many people from Cycling Canada are invited there to shake hands …

Antonino Duchesne

With its 23And placed in the nation rankings on August 16, Canada will be entitled to four starters in Wollongong for the elite men’s road race on September 25.

“If half of the top players decide not to go, it shows that the Canadian team, after all, doesn’t care about the results,” Duchesne said. We will send those who wanted to pay and we will. Subsequently, they will say that there are no results. ”

Above all, he adds, that Canada should be among the “outsiders” for the podium with representatives such as Woods, Houle and Boivin. “It hadn’t happened for several years. I understand that it is an expensive world championship and that everyone has to pay their share, but the fact remains that it is the number one event and that we have drivers to win. It’s still a shame. ”

Canadian champion Pier-André Côté hesitated before accepting a long-known selection. He only decided on Wednesday. The representative of the American training Human Powered Health was also cooled by the high cost of the trip.

“It’s difficult, I was really undecided”, admitted the athlete from Lévis who will line up at the Maryland Classic on Sunday. “Spending $ 5,000 on a plane ticket for a one-day ride, everyone was wondering. This is why so many people refused. I had to think about it. ”

Since he receives funding from Sport Canada to absorb this kind of expense, he felt “in principle” that he could not refuse this invitation for his second Elite Worlds. His teammate Nickolas Zukowsky, from Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides, will accompany him to Wollongong.

Canada isn’t the only cycling nation that will be deprived of its best cyclists. Ireland canceled its participation outright due to high travel costs and limited budget. New Zealand will also have to do without some of its professionals in Europe who refuse to bear part of the cost of airfare, according to a recent article by the specialist website cyclingtips.com.

“Incredibly expensive”

Cycling Canada ensures that it is doing everything possible to reduce the fees charged to athletes to participate in its various international projects in all disciplines.

“So far, several athletes have chosen not to participate in this year’s World Championships due to commitments from professional teams,” said Scott Kelly, the federation’s head of sport. We are also aware that cost is a concern for athletes. We too are concerned about it. “

“This year’s Road World Championships in Australia are incredibly expensive and speaking to many other national cycling federations, we are not the only ones facing these increased costs,” he added. We are committed to fielding teams from every category and with a larger team this entails additional costs. ”

Cycling Canada has allocated $ 110,000 for the Wollongong World Championships (accommodation, staff, transportation and luggage), which is a third of the annual road competition budget. Kelly predicts that this amount will increase “given the rising cost of almost everything related to international travel.” If elite athletes are required to pay for the flight, junior and U23 athletes must also pay $ 1,250 in “project fees”.

“We continue to look for ways to provide additional funding for this year’s World Championships. And we continue to be both communicative and transparent with athletes about the challenges associated with these higher costs, “she concluded.

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