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Race Preview: Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau

Team rolls north to Quebec

Rally Cycling arrived in Gatineau, Quebec today for a pair of UCI 1.1 events, the Grand Prix (GP) Cycliste Gatineau and the Chrono Gatineau. Taking place June 7 – 8, the rolling road race and individual time trial courses start only a few kilometers from the border with Ontario and head northwest through Parc de la Gatineau.

Riding the momentum off a successful Amgen Tour of California, where the team won the points and best young rider competitions, Rally Cycling brings a talented roster well-suited to the strenuous parcours. Sara Bergen, Kelly Catlin, Gillian Ellsay, Katherine Maine, and Sara Poidevin will toe the line in southern Quebec.

The two-day race begins with Thursday’s 104 km GP, where flat roads are nowhere to be found. Riders are sent onto the twisty roads of Parc de la Gatineau, a 361 sq km park extending northwest from Gatineau. The race has historically finished in a field sprint despite narrow roads favorable to breakaways.

“There are countless hills throughout the day that will stretch the peloton but none are quite long enough to cause a true selection amongst the riders,” said Team Director Zach Bell. “A few riders will escape at some point but typically the aggression from within the peloton keeps the speed high and time gaps to the breakaway quite small.”

Friday’s 17 km time trial enters Parc de la Gatineau on the same roads as the GP and climbs 400 ft in elevation over the opening eight km before turning around and descending back to the finish along the Ottawa River.

Growing up ten minutes from the start in Ottawa, Ontario, Katherine Maine has home-field advantage. The stage four winner of the Chico Stage Race spoke about the significance of racing so close to home.

“It’s my home race and I’m excited to race in front of friends and family,” said Maine. “Typically it’s challenging to have a breakaway stay away on this course since a lot of teams come with sprinters. Our roster has the engines that could force a selection through Gatineau park before the finishing circuits. Either way, the sprint is on a slight uphill drag and we will have a few cards to play.“

After the races in Gatineau, the team will split between Knoxville, TN, and Saguenay, Quebec for the American and Canadian Road Race Championships.

GP/Chrono Gatineau Roster
Sara Bergen
Kelly Catlin
Gillian Ellsay
Katherine Maine
Sara Poidevin

Director: Zach Bell

On June 9th in Healdsburg, CA, Managing Director Charles Aaron, Team Director Eric Wohlberg, and two-time Amgen Tour of California stage winner Evan Huffman will take part in the Velo & Vines Century Ride to benefit the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation. For up-to-the-minute updates from all of our events, follow us on Twitter.