The Canadian Cyclists Looking to Inspire a New Generation

Reaching the top in any sport is tough. But achieving success in elite-level cycling requires a level of performance and commitment that few can imagine. That’s why just winning a single stage of a Grand Tour can be such an emotional experience for a pro cyclist.

For casual sports fans, this can be hard to understand. Winning one stage of a 21-stage race seems insignificant in the overall scheme of the event. But few riders ever get to win a tour, and a stage win still marks a pinnacle at this level. It means the cyclist has reached the highest level and fulfilled one of their greatest ambitions. For most, a Grand Tour stage win is a dream come true.

Canadian breakthrough

Such is the rarity of a GT stage win that some major sporting nations have rarely produced athletes who have achieved this feat. One example is Canada. Until 2009, Canada had only produced one GT stage winner, Steve Bauer in the 1988 Tour de France. The nation finally celebrated a second winner in 2009 when Ryder Hesjedal claimed stage 12 of the men’s Vuelta a Espana. He claimed a second win at the same event in 2014.

More recently, Canadian Michael Woods has added to the haul with stage wins at the 2018 and 2020 Spanish tours. While, earlier this year, his current Israel–Premier Tech teammate, Hugo Houle, bagged a prestigious Tour de France stage win and dedicated the victory to his late brother. In total, only four male Canadians have won a Grand Tour stage, but Both of those Israel–Premier Tech riders will be looking to add to their tallies in the upcoming tours.

More Canadian stage wins likely

Backing the stage winner of a Grand Tour has become one of the most popular markets for cycling bettors. Cycling wagering was once very limited with only overall winner odds available. In recent years, that has changed, and you can now bet on who will win individual jerseys and race stages as well as other options such as a most combative rider. Fans of Canadian riders can enjoy the best online sports betting in Canada with well-known brands such as Bodog. Michael Woods is expected to take part in his fourth Tour de France in 2023 and is priced as a+50000 outsider to take the overall title. However, he could be in contention for a stage win and will be eagerly awaiting the course details to see where he can make an impact.

Of the two currently, active Canadian riders mentioned, Hugo Houle is the youngest and looks the most likely to win another Grand Tour stage. However, Michael Woods should not be ruled out despite reaching 35 years of age. He won the four-stage 2022 Route d’Occitanie, his first major race win in three years, and looks in good form.

As teammates, they could find themselves working together in pursuit of more stage wins in 2023. Houle is expected to target the Tour de France as he looks to improve on his 24th-place finish in 2022. A second stage win would make him the most successful Canadian rider in Tour de France history.

Legend of Canadian women’s cycling

On the women’s circuit, Leah Kirchmann leads the way for Canada with two Team Time Trial stage wins in the women’s versions of the Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta. The 32-year-old racer recently announced her retirement from the sport at the end of the 2022 season. She is already regarded as the best female cyclist Canada has produced.


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    The recent success of Woods, Houle, and Kirchmann will be an inspiration to other up-and-coming Canadian riders and we could see more breaking through in the next few years.

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    The Canadian Cyclists Looking to Inspire a New Generation — Bike Hacks