Wrapping Up ProTour Races In Canada

Posted on 15. Sep, 2010 by in news

Success on all fronts in the two ProTour races in Canada. Crowds were at the rendez-vous cheering both the riders at the front of the race and the ones dropped and they were treated to quite a show.

For Canadians it was a chance to shine in front on family and friends, and to be cheered extra loud. “It’s great, it’s unreal.” Canadian Svein Tuft (Garmin-Transitions) said. “Going up the climb, it was just… wow.”

Riders lined up for Grand Prix Cycliste ProTour Montreal

Riders lined up for Grand Prix Cycliste ProTour Montreal

Positive across the board. “It’s been fantastic, all the riders have been talking about how great it’s been organized, how well it’s run, The crowds were great in Quebec.” Radioshack’s Levi Leipheimer commented before the start of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal on Sunday.

Mission Accomplished for race organizer Serge Arsenault, who received the confirmation of the possible existence of the two races at the end of 2008, in the “infancy of my project”. Organizer of the Grand Prix des Amériques from 1988 to 1992 and of the Tour Trans-Canada in 1999, Arsenault is no stranger to professional cycling.

“From the UCI’s point of view, this weekend were two exceptional races, two very high-level, high-quality races that deserve to be in the UCI ProTour. ” UCI President Pat McQuaid agreed after the race on Sunday.

“Now he’s got two events to work upon.” McQuaid replied when asked what could be improved in the two events. “Getting more sponsors in, getting more sponsors involved, getting more government involved, liaising with government entities to work together on the sport, work with the Canadian federation to develop the sport.”

He then added, “From the event itself, very little needs to be done, they are already at a very high level.”

Arsenault followed up by pointing out that it was all about the athletes. “We had one goal, it wasn’t sponsors, it wasn’t television, I was at the service of the athletes. Goal number one for our first edition was to respect the athletes, to offer them a stage when they could express themselves, to treat them with excellence by the quality of the organization, by the hotels, by the environment that we provided to them.”

Part of the estimated $ 4.5 Millon (Canadian) budget included a chartered plane for the ProTour riders, a stay at the historic and luxurious Château Frontenac, first-class train ride between the two cities and a hotel only a few blocks, walkable distance, from the train station in Montreal.

“The thank you came from the riders, they made the race in Montreal, they made the race in Quebec and for me it’s mission accomplished.” Arsenault concluded.

As for the future, Arsenault has a 5-year contract with the UCI to put on the two races. One of the options, talked about by race technical director, Charly Mottet could be to increase the number of laps in the races.

Worlds in Quebec? “It’s really a course for a World Championship, I think they have a good chance to do a World Championship here, it was a really good atmosphere.” Rabobank’s Robert Gesink said about the Quebec course, who then added that 6 more laps would be needed.

The 189-km Grand Prix de Quebec course was made up of 15 laps of a 12.6-km course. Worlds courses are typically 250 km.

The idea of having the World Road Championship in Quebec in 2015 was brought in the first press conference prior to the race in Quebec. And then, repeated multiple times.

“It’s almost a perfect course for the World Championships in 2015. We saw today, on a Friday, the weather wasn’t good, folks were working, imagine a sunny Sunday afternoon, it would packed with people.” Canadian François Parisien (Spidertech) commented.

Twice now, in a 7-year cycle, the World Championships have been held outside Europe, in Hamilton, Canada in 2003 and this year, in Melbourne, Australia.

“The interest is there, make no difference about it, I had discussions with [Quebec] Mayor Labeaume about it, he’s interested in it, he hasn’t made any decisions about it. Before it goes much further he’d have to find out what’s involved.” McQuaid said on Sunday. “I think yesterday, it certainly proved to the cycling world, the teams, that should a World Championship take place in Quebec City that there is a warm welcome for it, and that it could be a big success.”

The discussion will be on the docket at the next UCI management meeting held in Melbourne at the same time as the World Championships.McQuaid added, “During that we’ll be discussing the possibility of stipulating that 2015 would be the next time that we would accept World Championships candidates from outside Europe. There is interest from several candidates from outside Europe already and Quebec is one of them, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Gerald Tremblay, Mayor of Montreal and race organizer Serge Arsenault

Gerald Tremblay, Mayor of Montreal and race organizer Serge Arsenault

ProTour Race in Boston. Arsenault told La Presse that he has received UCI’s approval to pursue a ProTour race in Boston, Massachusetts. The ideal date would be Labor Day, 4 days before the Quebec race.

“In three years, it’s too late, in two years, it’s feasible, in one year, it’s a dream.” Arsenault told the paper about the timeline for such a race. No ProTour race has been held, so far, in the United States but the Tour of California is pursuing a 2011 date.

A UCI road race was on the schedule in Boston in 2007 but never got off the ground. The UCI 2.1 Montréal-Boston Cycling Tour scheduled for August 5 to 12, 2007 was canceled due to “logistical complexity”.

“The reason for the postponement is that the logistical complexity of an event of this scale, which demands close coordination between six different jurisdictions – Canada, Quebec, the United States, and three American states (Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts), was too great for such a short time period. ” organizer Daniel Manibal wrote in the release.

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One Response to “Wrapping Up ProTour Races In Canada”

  1. greg

    16. Sep, 2010

    omg so exciting!