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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

Mathias Guillemette, “the unknown” who invited himself to the top 5

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE TRACK CYCLING CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Mathias Guillemette in action at the Champions League

If he had no specific expectations when he started his Champions League journey last November, things were very different for track rider Mathias Guillemette on Saturday in London, where the fifth and final round of the Champions League calendar was played. the event.

All hopes were high for the Trifluvien who was in third place in the provisional general classification of the endurance events at the dawn of this final outing. “When I got up in the morning, I really hoped I could keep my place in the top 3”, he confided with a touch of bitterness in an interview with Sportcom.

And for good reason for the one who, after obtaining a sixth place overall, had trouble in the elimination race on Saturday. With a harvest of four medals in this event since the start of the Champions League, Guillemette was trapped behind a Dutch opponent and he could not do better than 12e square.

His dream of getting on the podium in the cumulative endurance races was gone in less than a second. “I just missed a moment and it was gone,” the 20-year-old continued.

In this race, the strategy has to be 100% and I made a small mistake. It was the first time I made a mistake from the start, but it was expensive!

Mathias Guillemette

The Quebecer thus slipped two places in the final standings to end up in fifth place with a total of 107 points.

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Leader at the start of the day, the Swiss Claudio Imhof finished seventh overall and second in the race by elimination to consolidate his first place. His cumulative 125 points allowed him to get his hands on the title with a purse of 25,000 euros (35,000 Canadian dollars, editor’s note).

Out of the shadows

Even if the disappointment was still just as strong a few hours after the closing ceremony of this second edition of the Champions League, Mathias Guillemette will retain more positives than negatives from his first season on the circuit.

Of course, a fifth place isn’t what I was hoping for at the start of the race, but it’s more than I could ask for in the series. I am extremely happy to be at top of the rank. I would have hoped for a better fate today (Saturday), but I can’t really ask for more.

Mathias Guillemette

It must be said that in barely a month and a half, the one who wore bib number 72 went from “almost pure unknown” to aspiring to the title in endurance.

“I was the last rider admitted to the competition after Kelsey Mitchell introduced me to the organizers at the worlds, so it’s not that bad of a result,” he joked, mentioning to the passing the good moves made in recent weeks.

“Just to win the first elimination, it was huge! At first, the guys didn’t know me at all, so they didn’t watch me in the races. It was easier to be sneaky, but I gained a lot of respect with my performances and my four medals. »

Certainly, Guillemette will have benefited from a “pass on the palette” of his teammate Kelsey Mitchell, without whom he might not have been selected for the Champions League. But, in the end, his talent will have spoken for him and he will be back even stronger at the next opportunity.

“I’m really happy to be in the big league! It helps a lot for confidence, that’s for sure, and the next competitions will be different. I will be watched more in the future, but it’s a good sign for me,” he concluded.

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Cycling

Hugo Houle: “It’s always a shock”

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PHOTO FRANCK FIFE, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ARCHIVES

Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin died on Wednesday after being hit by a truck driver while riding his bicycle.

Like the entire cycling community, Hugo Houle received as a shock the news of the tragic death of Davide Rebellin, hit by a trucker during an outing in Italy, just a month and a half after his retirement at the venerable age of 51. years, Wednesday.

Without being close to him, Houle occasionally met the Italian in the Monaco region, he who lived in Menton, a few kilometers away, with his wife Françoise.

Precisely, on Sunday, the Quebec cyclist took part with Rebellin in the Beking criterium in the principality, a charity event intended for young people in which the many professionals of the place participate. In an evening gala, Houle saw the dean of the peloton honored for his career with Belgian Philippe Gilbert, another new retiree with whom he shared the distinction of a masterful Ardennes hat-trick (Amstel Gold Race–Flèche Wallonne–Liège-Bastogne -Cork).

Three days later, Houle was on a bicycle when Rebellin was hit by the driver of a semi-trailer truck in a roundabout, about ten kilometers from the family residence in northeastern Italy. . The driver continued on his way before coming to a stop, surveillance cameras revealed. The driver got out for a few seconds to see what had happened before leaving, without it being known if he had realized that he had just hit a cyclist. It was Rebellin’s brother who discovered the inert body.

It’s always a shock. It reminds us that life is fragile. It’s sad to see that.

Hugo Houle, on the death of Davide Rebellin

The Israel-Premier Tech member was unaware of the details of the accident at the time of the interview. He felt like Rebellin had gone riding near his home in Menton, across the border between France and Italy. He wondered if he hadn’t taken the same route the day before.

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“It is true that there are several city crossings in Italy where there is a lot more traffic. It moves a lot, you have to be careful. Sometimes the tanks don’t stop. It can be a moment of inattention or that we are not seen. It’s part of everyday life, we share the road with the cars and we are much smaller. Of course we are vulnerable. »

Rebellin began his career the day after his participation in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. The renowned puncher played 30 professional seasons. In addition to his successes in the Ardennes, he signed some prestigious successes by winning Tirreno-Adriatico, Paris-Nice and the Classic San Sebastian.

PHOTO FRANCK FIFE, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ARCHIVES

Davide Rebellin in 2007

His career took a turn for the worse in 2008 when his silver medal at the Beijing Olympics was stripped after he tested positive for recombinant EPO (CERA). Cleared by Italian courts years later, he never regained his medal or quite managed to regain his virginity.

Houle especially remembers having rubbed shoulders with the Italian when he played for the Polish CCC (from 2013 to 2016). He was known as an affable, shy and reserved man who rode with passion. At the time of his accident, he was riding a gravel bike, a new discipline he intended to embrace.

“It’s still special, agreed Houle about this atypical course. It doesn’t matter who the person is, whether it’s a professional or not, it’s always cruel. You’re going to do what you like, a little bike ride, and then you never come home. »

The stage winner at the last Tour de France can unfortunately testify to this. In December 2012, his younger brother Pierrik experienced the same disastrous fate when he was caught while jogging in Saint-Perpétue by a drunk driver.

“It leaves traces, traces for the whole family,” said Houle. Each time, it reminds us that an accident can happen quickly. When you drive, you sometimes want to go fast between cars. We are in our training, we pass a little quickly on a traffic light, a stop sign. You have to take it easy, calm down a bit. »

“Stop the massacre”, implored the daily The Gazetta dello Sport on his prima pagina Wednesday. Rebellin’s death joins those of Michele Scarponi, killed in similar circumstances in 2017, and Marco Pantani, another cycling champion who died prematurely.

Recovery in Mallorca

PHOTO DOMINICK GRAVEL, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Hugo Houle

After a stint in Japan and Singapore, where he rode in front of tens of thousands of fans in exhibition criteriums sponsored by the Tour de France organizing company, Houle returned to training in earnest in mid-November. . When answering the call of The Press, he was returning from a first outing in the greater region of Girona, Spain, where Israel-Premier Tech is holding an internship in anticipation of the next season. The first to arrive among the riders, he rode alongside bosses Jean Bélanger and Sylvan Adams. “Morale is good,” assured Houle, who is still awaiting confirmation from the UCI of his team’s relegation to the second division. “The deadlines are approaching, we should have some news. Actions were taken by Sylvan, who commissioned a law firm, but I have no idea where the file is. If all goes according to plan, the 32-year-old will return to competition in the Mallorca Challenge at the end of January.

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Cycling

Davide Rebellin killed on a bike in a road accident

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PHOTO ERIC FEFERBERG, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ARCHIVES

Davide Rebellin

(Rome) Davide Rebellin, “born to pedal”, died on his bike Wednesday in Italy after being hit by a truck when he had just retired at the age of 51.

It was long believed that the Italian rider, Olympic vice-champion in road cycling in Beijing in 2008 before being overtaken by doping cases and stripped of his medal, was never going to stop riding.

Passionate, stubborn, this small size with the physique of a featherless bird has continued in recent years to skim the races of a very respectable level with his third division team.

“My wife often tells me that I was born to pedal. I see myself pedaling at night too, while I sleep”, he confided one day in an interview for the specialized site Velo-Club.net.

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He finally said stop barely a month ago, at the Veneto Classic, after thirty seasons of competition, marked by several major victories, including a resounding hat-trick in the Ardennes (Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche wallonne, Amstel Gold Race) in 2004.

The little death became final on Wednesday when he was hit in the town of Montebello Vicentino, in Veneto (north-east), at the exit of a roundabout, by a truck which did not stop, without we know at this stage whether the driver was aware of the impact.

Davide Rebellin died instantly.

On social networks, many runners paid tribute to the Italian who, for many of them, could have been their father.

” I can not believe. Davide Rebellin was still with us on Sunday evening in Monaco and even celebrated his long career at the gala dinner” at the Monte-Carlo criterium, reacted John Lelangue, general manager of the Lotto-Soudal team.

“Infinite sadness”

Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour de France, also remembers, moved, to have shaken hands with the Italian on this occasion.

“Today is a day of infinite sadness for those who love cycling,” reacted the organizers of the Tour of Italy.

This tragic end sealed a destiny which, beyond the victories – Liège-Bastogne-Liège, three times the Flèche wallonne, the Amstel Gold Race, the Clasica San Sebastian, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico – was struck by the doping seal.

Suspended for two years after testing positive for EPO several months after the Beijing Olympics, Rebellin has long become an infrequent figure for the community.

“It bothered me a lot in my career,” he explained to AFP in 2016. “After my suspension, I resumed in small teams because I had the door closed everywhere, especially in the big formations. »

Over the years, however, he had gradually managed to peel off that outcast label to earn respect through his passion for cycling and his kindness too.

His extraordinary longevity, the Italian explained by his taste for effort and training, his lifestyle – no red meat, gluten-free diet – but above all his passion intact, even increased tenfold over the years.

“I am contradictory, the more I advance in the years and the more I feel young”, said the one who was already 33 years old when he achieved his famous hat-trick in the Ardennes, which only the Belgian Philippe Gilbert will manage to repeat in 2011.

Rebellin almost stopped for the first time in 2021. But after a serious fall, resulting in a double fibula tibia fracture, the Italian explained that he did not want to hang up on an injury.

He therefore continued for one more season, until his fate changed on Wednesday on the roads of Montebello Vicentino.

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