Guillaume Boivin Interview: Europe on horizon for Canadian Under 23 worlds bronze medallist
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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Guillaume Boivin Interview: Europe on horizon for Canadian Under 23 worlds bronze medallist

by Ed Hood at 1:56 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
Looks to build on successful campaign overseas

Guillaume BoivinCanada is a cycling nation that continues to punch above its weight.  With a Tour de France top ten finisher in Ryder Hesjedal and one of the world’s best ‘chrono men’ in Svein Tuft, the prospects for the future of cycling in the country are promising.

Part of that bright future will certainly include 21 year old talent Guillaume Boivin, who is a sprinter for the Spidertech Powered by Planet Energy squad.  The team is the brain child of Canadian and former Tour de France yellow jersey wearer, Steve Bauer.  If Bauer’s plans come to fruition,  Spidertech will upgrade to a Pro Continental team for 2011, and Canada could graduate to having a team with a constant presence in Europe.

The former national champion recently confirmed his ability against some of Europe’s biggest teams with a ninth place finish in stage two of the Paris-Corrèze (UCI 2.1) this past August, and then days later shocked home favourite André Greipel to win the field sprint at the Sparkassen Giro Bochum (UCI 1.1).  He continued his run of form with two stage wins at the Mi-Août Bretonne (UCI 2.2s), and has now followed up those successes with a stellar performance in Geelong, Australia during the U23 road race.  In a highly unusual decision by the the UCI, Boivin split the bronze medal with newly minted Amercian U23 time trial world champion Taylor Phinney, in a “too close to call” dash to the line.

VeloNation took time to talk to the French Canadian just before he headed to Melbourne for the world championships.

VeloNation: What about all that Canadian snow, Guillaume – tough for training?

Guillaume Boivin: The winters can be pretty hard, yes, but right now we have 35 degrees – that’s a lot warmer than it was in Europe.

VN: How did you get into cycling?

GB: I played ice hockey, but some of my family members rode bikes so I started to do some cycling in the summer to keep in shape for the hockey.

I rode a few races and showed some potential so at around 18 I switched from hockey to cycling and over the last three or four years I’ve completely made the transition from hockey player to cyclist.

VN: Spidertech is a Continental team?

Guillaume BoivinGB: Yes, I was with a good small team last season – Volkswagen/Trek out of Quebec - then rode stagiaire for Spidertech at the end of the season.

It’s Canada’s only Continental team but there’s a vision for the team to become the first Canadian team to ride the Tour.

Each year the team steps up and for next year the objective is to Pro Continental – there’s a lot to do but the process is underway.

VN: How involved is Steve Bauer?

GB: We see him a lot, he’s 100% into what we do; he’s manager and DS at every race.

We have a good relationship with him and he has so much experience – he’s a legend but he’s working so hard to build the team and at the same time he makes it fun to be on the squad.

VN: How have your US results been in 2010?

GB: I had a top 10 on a Tour of California stage and was there at the end in Philly but screwed the sprint up by going for a gap that wasn’t there.

And I had wins in Canada and Cuba.

VN: Tell us about your Euro campaign.

GB: The biggest successes were in the Mi Aout Bretonne, a UCI 2.2 race in Brittany.

I went to Europe knowing I was capable of getting wins; I’ve learned a lot this season and wasn’t going to make the mistakes I’d made in US races.

We did Paris-Correze, but the race that really gave me confidence was the Sparkassen Giro Bochum in Germany – Niki Terpstra won solo; but I was second in the sprint ahead of André Greipel.

I like sprints and I don’t mind small power climbs; I prefer hard races and the Bretonne suited me. 

The field was good with teams like AN Post, Bretagne-Schuler, Cofidis and Joker Bianchi all represented.

I won stages one and three in sprint finishes – I had a good team behind me; guys like Kevin Lacombe and David Boily set me up well for the finales.

VN: You must have been racing against guys you’ve heard of and admire?

GB: That’s a hard question; it’s hard to admire guys if you’re trying to beat them.

There are a lot of guys who are good and I respect but when I race in the same event I’m trying to beat them so admiration is not my thing.

VN: North America to Europe, what are the differences?

Guillaume BoivinGB: The Euro level is higher; races like California, Philly and Tour de Beauce in Canada are similar to Euro races; but at the end of the day a bike race is a bike race.

The big difference is control, amateurs are always trying to break away; but at the ProTour level it’s much more controlled with a break being allowed to go then brought back – and when the pros go hard, it’s hard!

VN: And what’s the Canadian scene like?

GB: It’s pretty good in Canada but we don’t have so many cyclists; at the Nationals there are only 20/30 guys who could win.

The Tour de Beauce is our hardest and biggest race, that’s a UCI 2.2; but this year there are the UCI races in Montreal and Quebec.

VN: Is full time in Europe the goal for 2011?

GB: Steve Bauer wants the team to be Pro Continental for next year and for us to spend time in Europe, but yes, I’ve had a few approaches.

Let’s just say that the rides I did in Europe attracted attention – I opened some eyes to what I’m capable of.


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