The Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau is Ariane Bonhomme’s home race. The under-23 Canadian national road and time trial champion will be rolling up to the start line at the UCI women’s event alongside her Cyclery-4iiii teammates for the races eighth edition on May 20.

RELATED: Live coverage: Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau road race 2017

Over the weekend, Bonhomme swept the road race, time trial and criterium the junior/U23 category at the Grand Prix St-Raymond 2017. The victories earned Bonhomme and her Cyclery-4iiii teammate Catharine Oulette, who also placed well, spots at the 2017 Canada Games in Winnipeg where they will represent Quebec.

Bonhomme is easing into the road season and her fourth participation at Gatineau will help build the form for targets later in the season. “The spring has been quieter than in previous years. The track season was a lot longer and ended later,” she said. “Since then I have raced a lot but I haven’t trained much. Starting tomorrow I start training to really focus on nationals and BC Superweek.”

Bonhomme remembers the inaugural edition of the Chrono Gatineau which runs on May 19. Following her race in the morning in 2010, Bonhomme remembers staying around to watch the pro women race. “It was always something I wanted to do,” Bonhomme, 22, said. “Maybe one day I will do well or win but I still have a lot to learn,” she said about her personal chances at the GP Gatineau.

In December, Ellen Watters tragically passed away. As a well-loved member of the Cyclery program for a number of years, Watters was good friends with many on the team. She was set to race UCI team Colavita-Bianchi in 2017.

The Cyclery team are a close group

The tragedy has brought the team together and created more of an emphasis on road safety with sponsors and within the program. “It’s something you never expect. We have always been pretty close but we are making extra sure that everyone is alright. The team is working a lot harder on road safety,” Bonhomme said.

Watters was one of the members of the team set to progress to a professional team in 2017. Canadian national elite women’s road champion Annie Foreman-Mackey won the title with the Cyclery and this year is racing with UCI team ShoAir-Twenty20.

The Cyclery-4iiii team continues to be focused on its mission to help develop the next generation of riders. “Last year we had three or four really strong girls. The rest of the team was more development. This year all the girls who didn’t transition to pro teams really stepped up,” Bonhomme said. “It gives all the girls more opportunities and we are all pretty much equal.”

Gatineau, right across the river from Ottawa where the Cyclery-4iiii is based, is a home race for the team as well. “I think we always start a race with the intention of win. Jenny [Trew] always tells us that if we don’t have the intention to win we might as well not do it,” explained Bonhomme. “As a development team, we need to focus on how to do our best. A lot of people can win in that field. What suits our team the best is a breakaway.”

Tune in for live coverage of the Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau on Saturday, May 20 at 2 pm EDT.


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