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In the shoes of a couple of top cyclists

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PHOTO FROM A VIDEO

Pier-Andre Côté

(Montreal) The reality of a high level athlete is sometimes difficult to understand for the members of his entourage. It is less so when the athlete’s partner practices his sport at a high level. This is the case of Lily Plante, track cyclist and Pier-André Côté, road cyclist, who have shared their lives for nearly two years.

Mutual aid and support are the advantages that emerge most from this relationship, according to them. A unique asset that is extremely valuable for the Plante-Côté couple.

“It’s crazy how much it helps because we have the same reality. Pier-André is a bit older than me, so he also has a bit more experience. He can give me advice and that helps me a lot. When one or the other is less well, we are able to be rational to help each other,” Plante points out from the outset.

“When we talk to our parents, they often say we’re tired and we need to rest, but that’s not always what we want to hear,” she adds.

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Pier-André Côté has a speech quite similar to his partner. The 25-year-old cyclist likes to hear Lily’s comments after his races to get his feet back on the ground.

“It’s easy to understand the reality of the other, especially when we have bad times. Cycling is a sport of ups and downs and it’s good to support each other on these occasions,” he said.

“We help each other put things into perspective. When I’m in a stage race where nothing is going well, it’s easy to think it’s all bad. On the other hand, the other has already been in a similar situation and she is able to put everything into perspective. If my partner hadn’t been in the cycling world, it would be more difficult to talk about these things. »

However, the distance remains a major challenge as Pier-André finds himself in Europe for a long part of the summer while Lily trains mainly near Milton, Ontario. Luckily for them, technology helps enormously to stay close to each other despite the distance and time differences.

“We manage to manage all that well, but it remains difficult. We’ve been together for two years and in the first year, we haven’t seen each other for eight out of twelve months. With the joys of technology, we still manage to talk to each other every day, ”consoles Lily Plante.

Playing another’s sport

PHOTO FROM A VIDEO

Lily Plant

Track cycling and road cycling are similar and completely different sports at the same time. Through their union, Lily Plante and Pier-André Côté have had more of a chance to practice each other’s sport. And both find their account.

The couple was also able to train together for the Canadian Road Championships last June, where Pier-André won the national title. As for Lily, the 21-year-old returned to road competition there for the first time since 2019.

“At the Canadian Championships, Pier-André really wanted to win. We analyzed the routes together. I am lucky to have him as a mentor, even if it is not at all (the dynamic) of our relationship. He has a big heart and he always gives back to others,” said Plante, who finished 29e in line racing.

And the opposite ? Pier-André, the track rider, is that a possibility?

He practiced track cycling when he was younger, but obviously put this discipline aside in recent years to focus on the road. However, during a visit to Trexlertown, Pennsylvania earlier this year to accompany Lily to a competition, he couldn’t resist doing a few laps, much to Lily’s delight.

“He wasn’t supposed to race, but he managed to do ProAm races and he really enjoyed it. I’m slowly trying to get him to try the track because he would be really good. I like to give him advice and add challenges to him,” exclaims his companion.

Pier-André also appreciated the experience, saying that even on leave, you can’t prevent a competitor from competing.

“The Bromont velodrome will be a great opportunity to be able to go on the track close to home. I needed a break after the Nationals, I followed Lily to Pennsylvania and couldn’t help but run some errands. It was great ! »

The union of Lily Plante and Pier-André Côté clearly brings a lot of positives to the duo. The two athletes had, in closing, beautiful messages to convey to their partner.

“I admire his drive. I saw him train for the Canadian Championships knowing he could win,” Lily said admiringly. “He got up every morning and worked non-stop for his goal. He is dedicated to his sport and he has a big heart, especially towards young people. He offers them to ride with him, he gives them advice and that’s really a great quality as an athlete. That’s nice to look at ! »

“Lily is extremely persistent. She had a pretty humble beginning and she didn’t take it all when she was younger, but she kept struggling and it’s doing so well now. She is the Pan American champion in the team pursuit and at the Madison. I’m really proud of that, ”concluded Pier-André, proud of his partner.

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Cycling

“Proud not to have let go”

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PHOTO JACQUES BOISSINOT, CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES

Israel-Premier Tech announced earlier this week a one-year contract extension for Guillaume Boivin.

The season was not easy for Guillaume Boivin, to say the least. Back pain, severe flu, COVID-19 after a calamitous Tour de France, mechanical trouble at the end of the Grand Prix de Québec… Not to mention his three bikes lost for months by Air Canada.

Nothing reassuring for a 33-year-old cyclist whose contract expired at the end of the year. However, earlier this week, Israel-Premier Tech announced a one-year extension for the veteran veteran.

Excellent news for the principal concerned… for whom it was not news. Boivin accepted this new contract in January in the wake of his first Tour de France, his Olympic baptism, his third national title and his spectacular performance on the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix (9e).

For some reason, the team only announced the signing on Monday, along with that of three teammates.

I really had a great season last year and I always wanted to stay with this team.

Guillaume Boivin

“They want to keep me and they know I don’t need to be in year [de renouvellement] contract to be motivated and do my job 100%, he explained at the start of the week. It made sense to both parties. They just wanted to take that stress away from me so that I could have my head free and be more focused on the races. »

Disappointment and bad luck

After a back injury which caused him to retire from Paris-Nice, he found his legs again in the Tour of Catalonia where he distinguished himself with a fourth stage place in a sprint finish. Sent to Belgium earlier than expected to take advantage of his momentum, he was struck down by influenza for several weeks. He forced the note to return to Paris-Roubaix, after which he went back to bed for another ten days.

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As he began an altitude camp for the Critérium du Dauphiné, the team eventually sent him back to Belgium as a threat of relegation to the second division began to dawn.

“As a team, we made the choice to skip a few training sessions to go shopping, which probably didn’t pay off, at least not for me. »

Much to his disappointment, he was not part of the initial selection for the Tour. He therefore headed for Alberta where he finished second behind Pier-André Côté in the defense of his national title.

A few days later, he landed in Denmark the day before the big start of the Tour, replacing a teammate dismissed as a contact case of COVID-19.

With 4 kg more than the previous year, his Tour was a nightmare. For good measure, he was taken out of the race on the morning of the final stage due to a coronavirus infection, which was taking its toll on the peloton.

Best Canadian at the Quebec and Montreal Grands Prix, he feels that his form is on the rise, as evidenced by his fifth place at the classic Primus, in Belgium, on September 17.

“As we see every year that passes, if you’re not 100%, even in a small race, it’s difficult to win because everyone is really in good shape. »

With the health problems I had, I’m still not having a bad season. But it was still far from expectations after that of last year. I remain proud of not having let go of the piece.

Guillaume Boivin

After two weeks of training in Andorra, where he happily reunited with his partner Michael Woods, he is “greatly motivated” for the last four events on his programme: Famenne Ardenne Classic (Sunday), which he won in 2018, Binche-Chimay-Binche (Tuesday), Remco Evenepoel’s first race in his rainbow jersey, Paris-Bourges (Thursday) and Paris-Tours (next Sunday).

“At this time, it’s more the mind that breaks. I tell myself that as long as I’m running, I’m going to try to do it well. »

“We can cry…”

The other dark cloud that has weighed down the season for Boivin and his teammates is of course the threat of relegation to the second division for the next three years. In all likelihood, Israel-Premier Tech will have to settle for guaranteed spots in next year’s WorldTour one-day events. The Israeli-Canadian team will then have to finish among the first two ProTeams to win a guaranteed invitation to the three major tours in 2024. “We have been greatly affected by the disease, recalled Boivin. It was also new to fight for points rather than wins. It may be subtle, but for a runner, it changes the way of approaching the races and of behaving as a team. You need to learn. With Quebec sponsors like Sylvan Adams and Premier Tech, he adds that it’s not hard to get motivated. “You have to see it as a big challenge. We don’t really have any other option. We can cry all we want, that’s not going to solve our situation…”

2026: “A goal for our generation”

Boivin does not know when he will end his career, but the holding of the 2026 World Championships in Montreal represents a serious incentive to continue it for four more years. “It’s really amazing and I’m very excited about it. It is a fine goal for our generation to try to achieve it. The young people are growing, but if we go there, I’ll be very happy. »

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Cycling

Inauguration of the velodrome: “We have accomplished a mind-blowing project”

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PHOTO JIMMY PLANTE, THE VOICE OF THE EAST

We officially inaugurated the new indoor velodrome on Thursday in Bromont.

It’s official. After 30 years of waiting and nearly a decade of mobilization, Quebec once again has its indoor velodrome, making Bromont the Mecca of cycling sports. The sprint to complete this extraordinary project required colossal efforts, which were celebrated in style at the inauguration on Thursday.

When he looks behind his shoulder, Nicolas Legault takes the measure of the titanic challenge taken up to complete the velodrome project, an investment of $22 million.

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Cycling

Nicolas Legault dreams of world-class competitions

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PHOTO JIMMY PLANTE, THE VOICE OF THE EAST

“We have everything we need to host important events,” says Nicolas Legault.

Nicolas Legault makes no secret of it: he wants the Sylvan-Adams velodrome to be the scene of major cycling competitions.

“We have what it takes to host major events,” said the general manager of the velodrome. Do we have plans? Yes ! »

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