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Strong Canadian contingent expected at Quebec City, Montreal UCI races

Garmin-Barracuda's Ryder Hesjedal of Canada smiles as he waits for the start of the 149-kilometre Stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia on May 24, 2012.

ALESSANDRO GAROFALO/REUTERS

A strong contingent of Canadian riders, including 2012 Giro champion Ryder Hesjedal, is expected at this year's Grand Prix Cycliste races in Quebec City and Montreal.

Organizers announced Monday that Cycling Canada has been invited to enter an eight-man team in the UCI WorldTour events to be held Sept. 13 and Sept. 15.

The one-day races will each have 21 teams, including some of the world's top cyclists. They are the only UCI WorldTour events held in North America.

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The rosters of the 19 ProTeam squads include seven Canadians, led by Victoria's Hesjedal of the Garmin-Sharp team.

The Orica team has Christian Meier of Sussex, N.B., and Svein Tuft of Langley, B.C.

Guillaume Boivin of Montreal races for Cannondale, Hugo Houle of Ste-Perpetue, Que., with AG2R, Francois Parisien of Repentigny, Que. with Argos and Dominique Rollin of Boucherville, Que., with FDJ.

A Pro Continental team, Europcar, has David Veilleux of Cap-Rouge, Que. Veilleux is to become the first rider from Quebec to race in the Tour de France next month.

"We're proud of the depth of Canadian talent that is making it into the professional ranks these days," said race promoter Serge Arsenault. "I hope that the Grand Prix Cyclistes will continue to be catalysts of success for our young riders."

Cycling Canada's team will be run by Gord Fraser, manager of its men's road racing program. The squad will be selected based on riders' performances this season.

"These events are critical to providing Canadian cyclists with much needed UCI WorldTour experiences," Jacques Landry, Cycling Canada's head coach, said in a statement.

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He added there are "a record-number of (Canadian) riders on the UCI WorldTour."

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