Thirty-three years ago, using a rock to draw the start/finish line, seven friends got together on a Tuesday evening in Lachine, Québec, Canada to race their bikes. One of those riders was Joseph “Tino” Rossi, an immigrant from Supino, Italy.
Friends still get together to race on Tuesday evenings in the balmy summer) but it’s a lot bigger now. Bigger fields, bigger crowds and prize money at the Mardis Cyclistes Saputo de Lachine but the passion is still the same, bike racing for women, juniors and elite men. Each field race on the 1.6km closed course around Parc Lasalle in Lachine (a Montréal arrondissement), to battle for points at intermediate sprints and the finish line. There’s also a prize for whoever beats the fastest time in the elite men’s race, set by Guillaume Boivin on August 11, 2009 at 58 minutes and 52 seconds for the 50 kilometers/31 laps. Every week, $500 is added to the prize until a rider beats Boivin’s time.
If you’re ever in Montréal, come and watch or race.
Last night, series leader Martin Gilbert and his Spidertech p/b Planet Energy squad came into the race wanting to score as many points as possible. Gilbert and many of his teammates are leaving to race in Europe during August, all in preparation for the ProTour races in Québec City and Montréal in September. Attacks flew until lal 18, when François Parisien (Spidertech p/b Planet Energy) and Hugo Houle (Garneau Club Chaussures) got away and stayed away from the chasing field. The pair worked well together until the final lap when wily Parisien sat on, forcing Houle, the faster of the two, to work to keep the field at bay. His strategy worked, Parisien took the win ahead. It was Houle’s first race back after injuring his knee at the Canadian Championships three weeks ago.
Parisien didn’t beat Boivin’s time, taking 1:00:36 for the 31 laps.
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