On Sunday 3 July the Velo.Victo.Fest UCI Gran Fondo World Series race took place in Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada on the same course that will host the 2026 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.

Pascal Hervé, 57, former ProTour rider and member of the infamous Festina team kicked out of the 1998 Tour de France for doping, won the men’s 55-59 category and qualified to start on the front row at the 2022 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Italy.

Hervé was one of the top French riders in the 1990’s and member of the Festina team from 1994-1999. He was not only kicked out of the 1998 Tour de France as part of the Festina EPO doping Affair, along with his entire team, he also tested positive for EPO in 2001 at the Giro d’Italia and was kicked out of that Grand Tour by his own team, Alexia Alluminio.

Hervé never raced professionally after 2001, but continued to be involved in the sport as director for team Garneau-Québecor and co-founded the PeakCentre coaching and performance lab for endurance sports in Montreal.

Recently he returned as an amateur competitor in Canadian masters category races and gran fondos.

As the UCI Gran Fondo World Series and UCI Gran Fondo World Championships do not prohibit ex-pro riders who have used banned performance enhancing substances from competing, Hervé pulled on a blue UCI Gran Fondo World Series championship jersey, accented with rainbow stripes, after winning his age category on Sunday in 3:42:36 for 133 kilometers.

It is unknown if he plans to race for an amateur world title, like former Tour de France pro Johnny Hoogerland, at the 2022 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Trento, Italy in September.

In other racing at Velo.Victo.Fest, 28 year-old Julien Gagné was the overall winner of the gran fondo, soloing across the finish line in 3:25:37, followed by Paul Blanc-Paque (3:26:50) and Joel Plamondon (3:30:42).

Evelyne Gagnon won the women’s gran fondo race in 4:04:00.

48 year-old Robin Pichette won the time trial race on Friday 1 July with a blistering fast time of 30:33 on the dead flat 24 kilometers long course.

Complete UCI Velo.Victo.Fest gran fondo results HERE.

Compelte UCI Velo.Victo.Fest time trial results HERE.

Photos: Velo.Victo.Fest, Inacio Rosa/EPA/Shutterstock