Canadian Derek Gee secured yet another podium place at the Giro d’Italia on Monday, narrowly missing the win and finishing just behind Magnus Cort of EF Education–EasyPost. How closely have you followed this 25-year-old pro? Here are five things you need to know about the Israel-Premier Tech rider.
Gee is an avid birder, discovering his passion for bird watching in August 2019. His interest soared when the Olympics were postponed to 2021. “It was a low-effort way to spend my free time. This year, I’m attempting a ‘big year,’ where I track every single species of bird I encounter,” he says. “This sport takes me to incredible locations. I’ve already explored Australia, the U.A.E., and various parts of Europe, so my tally should be impressive.”
Of course, during races, he doesn’t fully embrace his inner Robert Bateman, focusing on the feathered friends instead. “But it depends on how boring the race is,” he adds. “Though it would be risky to gaze up at birds; I might end up crashing into someone unfortunate.”
2. Ottawa boy (sort of)
While Gee often claims Ottawa as his hometown, he actually grew up in Osgoode, which lies 40 km to the south. He usually says he’s from Ottawa, which is mostly true. Osgoode Township eventually became part of Ottawa in 2001.
3. Like father, like son
Gee’s father is no stranger to cycling; he’s a talented cyclist himself. In fact, there was once a contest between Derek and his father to determine who would win a national championship first. Derek lost the bet, as Gee Sr. triumphed in the 50-plus master road race in 2014. However, Derek was victorious in the junior time trial in 2015.
By the way, since 2015, he has added another 12 championships to his name. Nevertheless, his father was the first Gee to claim the coveted maple leaf jersey.
4. Track star
Although Gee excels on the road, he made a big name for himself in the international track scene. He represented Canada in the 2020 Olympics after clinching the Canadian elite individual pursuit and omnium titles. In Tokyo, he participated in the team pursuit, securing a commendable fifth-place finish. It marked Canada’s best Olympic result in the event since 1932! Additionally, he partnered with Michael Foley for the madison event.
5. WorldTour call-up after a blazing time trial
In 2022, Gee rode for Israel Cycling Academy, the feeder team for Israel-Premier Tech. He received a call-up to join the WorldTour team for O Gran Camiño and delivered an exceptional performance, including an impressive fifth-place finish in the time trial. As a result, he earned a spot on the major league team for 2023.
With files from Matthew Pioro