TO GO BIKING. Edward Ouellet continues to establish himself among the next generation of Canadian road cyclists. Aspiring to ride amongst the best professional cyclists in the world, 24-year-old Drummondvillois takes positive stock of his first season at the French circuit.
After almost 70 races in National Division 1, the most demanding cycling course in France, Edward Ouellet is back in Quebec after a nine-month stay on the other side of the Atlantic. In the second half of the season, the member of the French cycling team Macadam’s Cowboys cracked the top ten several times.
“My season went in two phases. In the beginning it was a lot of learning, said the man who has dedicated himself to this discipline for almost two years. Before I left I had completed 15 races in Quebec compared to people who have been cycling for 10 years and have 400 races experience. The first few months were super tough. I just fell! It was fall after fall.”
Refusing to abdicate despite a pawned body, Edward Ouellet recovered in the weeks that followed, notably reaching the third step of the podium at the Grand Prix du Val de Villé.
“At one point I questioned myself a bit, but I was looked after well. My coach told me it was a wall I had to pass. The team manager continued to trust me. He too was convinced that I would unblock. I agreed with him. In the second half of the season I started to see results. I gained confidence and things moved on,” he explained.
“There’s a world of difference between here and there,” Edward Ouellet continued. Quebec has a maximum of 60 runners, compared to more than 200 in France. In addition, those who win the races in the national elite category also manage to win on the World Tour circuit. The difference between the national elite and the pro races is not that big. If you do well in France, you can perform with the pros.
trust and perseverance
Before starting his cycling career, Edward Ouellet was a longtime triathlon enthusiast, competing in major Pan-American competitions. This discipline allowed him to develop his work ethic.
“It’s a sport that requires a lot of training. It taught me to live a healthy lifestyle. It was very formative. I started cycling late, but progress is what counts. Every year I make tremendous progress,” said the man whose father, Frédéric Ouellet, is a well-known figure in the world of triathlon and running.
Last year, Edward Ouellet had the opportunity to be taken under the wing of Pierre Hutsebaut. Over the years, the experienced coach has spearheaded the rise of Quebec’s best cyclists.
“Pierre has a lot of experience in the cycling world. He has old ways, but when I saw my progress I saw that he knew his stuff. His advice isn’t just physical or technical. It is he who guides me on my career path. I trust him with my eyes closed. I’m grateful to be looked after so well,” says the man, who describes himself as a persevering and self-confident athlete.
“If you don’t persevere, it will never work in this environment. You also have to have faith in yourself. If you believe in it, anything is possible. I’ve always believed in it, no matter what. As soon as there is doubt in the mind, it does not work. I know I have all the tools to make my dream come true. It’s only a matter of time.”
learn to win
Approached by some French teams, Edward Ouellet has decided to play a second season with the Macadam’s Cowboys in 2024. He will fly to the Lorraine region in January.
“It’s a National Division 2 team but on a National Division 1 schedule. Our team is running with the best but with no pressure. For me it’s perfect. It’s a school of learning. What I need is to do most of the shopping. I don’t want to skip a step because it keeps catching up with you. You have to be patient,” argued Edward Ouellet.
Next season, the Drummondvillois want to become one of the best drivers on the French circuit. He will also return home to compete in the Tour de Beauce and the Canadian Championships in Edmonton.
“Most of the learning is done. That year I learned to walk. The goal was not to win, but to learn the basics of the craft. I put my pride aside, but next year I want to learn how to win. I really have the cards and the tools to make it happen. I go there to get results.”
Once this milestone is reached, Edward Ouellet would like to sign a contract with a professional team that will play at the International Cycling Union circuit from 2024. “As a team, our goal is to win the Coupe de France in order to be promoted to the national team level 1 the following year. For me, helping the team achieve that goal before making the leap to the pros would be an ideal year.
Inspired by Hugo Houle, who also made his debut in triathlon, Edward Ouellet dreams of following in the footsteps of his regional compatriot and taking part in the Olympic Games and the famous Tour de France.
“This is the ultimate goal for every cyclist! It’s a dream for me, but it’s a whole journey to get there. I have this goal in mind, but there are many big steps ahead of me on the way there. You have to know how to appreciate every step along the way, Edward Ouellet wisely pointed out in conclusion.
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