Canadian athletes are returning to the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir for the first time in eight years. The UCI Nations Cup event is the most prominent under-23 stage race on the calendar. The 10 stage race offers opportunities for sprinters, time trialists, climbers and general classification riders to showcase their talent against many of the worlds best. The 2019 edition takes place from Aug. Aug. 15 to 25. It’s an incredible development opportunity for young riders looking to make the jump to the next level.
Former winners of the Tour de L’Avenir include newly crowned Tour champion Egan Bernal in 2017, Thibaut Pinot’s loyal domestique and last year’s white jersey winner David Gaudu in 2016 and Movistar’s Marc Soler in 2015. The list of winners also includes Nairo Quintana, Warren Barguil and Bauke Mollema.
The race is doubly important because the Nations Cup helps to determine start quota allocations for the world championships.
“We currently have a very exciting wave of U23 men who have had great performances this season,” said Kevin Field, Head of Performance Strategy at Cycling Canada. “The goal of this project is to create program continuity, opportunity and development for these U23 athletes. Pier-André Côté (Rally UCH Cycling) has already graduated up from Continental to Professional Continental, and I’m pretty confident we’ll see others take the step to the next level.”
As a showcase event that acts in many ways as a mini Tour de France, the Tour de l’Avenir has been a proving ground for future WorldTour talent and Grand Tour winners. This year’s race will feature ten stages across southern France from Marmande to Saint-Colomban-des-Villards with tough stages in the French Alps.
“Canada’s ability to return to this race in 2019 is thanks to collaboration and support from the Hamilton Foundation, as well as private donors,” said Field. “We are thrilled to be able to collaborate with them to provide a unique experience for our riders.”
Canada’s roster is rich with top talent including Tour de Saguenay winner and U23 Canadian road champion Nickolas Zukowsky, Rally-UHC sprinter Pier-André Côté, three-time U23 Canadian ITT champion Adam Roberge and Team Sunweb development rider 18-year-old Ben Katerberg who was junior Canadian champion in 2018. Aevolo’s Laurent Gervais rounds out the roster.
The last time Canada started a team at the Tour de l’Avenir in 2011, David Boilly finished second to Esteban Chaves who’d go on to win Grand Tour stages and finish second at the 2016 Giro d’Italia.
Adam Roberge in 2018.
Nick Zukowsky was a late attacker in the U23 race at the 2018 world championships.
Pier-Andre Cote. Image: Pauline Ballet / ASO
Nickolas Zukowsky – Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides, Que.
Pier-André Côté – Lévis, Que.
Adam Roberge – Prévost, Que.
Ben Katerberg – Comox, B.C.
Laurent Gervais – Montréal
Charles-Etienne Chrétien – Amos, Que.