Ottawa, ON (July 31, 2020) – Canadian professional road cyclists are making their long anticipated return to racing in Europe this weekend after a five month hiatus. Tomorrow, the 2020 UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour seasons resume with the Strade Bianche in Siena, Italy.
Canadian WorldTour professionals have joined their team bubbles in the past weeks to prepare for the upcoming races, which will be condensed in a four-month window, running from August to November. Taking the start on the men’s side will be Mike Woods (EF Pro Cycling), Hugo Houle (Astana Pro Team), Alex Cataford (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation), while Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) and Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team) will be competing in the 136 kilometer women’s race.
The Strade Bianche will be the first of a long series of races for Canadian pros, who have laid out some of their main targets for the 2020 season. While Mike Woods’ season opens this weekend, the 2018 World’s bronze medalist is scheduled to race Il Lombardia before targeting the Tour de France. Antoine Duchesne (Groupama-FDJ) will also be on the start line of the Grand Boucle at the end of August, while Hugo Houle and James Piccoli (Israel Start-Up Nation) are scheduled to race an autumn edition of the Giro d’Italia in September. Piccoli’s Israel Start-Up Nation’s teammates Guillaume Boivin and Alex Cataford are also preparing for the new season, with Boivin targeting the cobbled classics, including the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
“I am really happy to be able to race again this weekend,” said Houle, whose last race was Paris-Nice in early March. “We are excited to be back and test the hard work done in training during the last few months.”
The women’s WorldTour season will be equally as busy, with Kirchmann targeting big races such as La Course, where she finished on the podium twice, while her teammate Allison Jackson (Team Sunweb) will be resuming her first WorldTour race season.
“I’m looking forward to restarting the season at Strade Bianche, one of my favourite races on the calendar,” said Kirchmann. “I have continued to work hard on my time trial while away from racing and hope to target a good result at the World Championships in Switzerland. My hope is that we can complete the season as planned in a safe and responsible way.”
To ensure a safe return to competition, the UCI has imposed strict health measures built off a team bubble system with frequent testing aimed at detecting any carriers of the virus before they enter a race bubble. Race organizers are also required to impose strict social distancing measures between the peloton bubble and the team bubbles, among other guidelines.
Fans can follow the 2020 season, including all five Monuments, the Grand Tours and the Road World Championships via Flobikes.