Friday, April 13, 2007

Montreal World Cup womans bike race 2007

The women’s world cup cycling race “The Montreal World Cup” is returning to Montreal on June 2, announced Daniel Manibal, president and CEO of the event.

The Gazette's Randy Phillips today reports that again this year 120 top woman cyclists will be riding 100 kilometres around the 8.3 km long Mount Royal circuit. (link)

This seems to be 12 laps, so that means 12 times going up the grueling Camellien Houde 1.7 km climb. It's a great race to walk around and see the race from different angles. Camelien Houde should be close to cars every weekend!

This year the start-finish line will be on Parc Avenue in Jeanne Mance park. This brings the race back into the public eye, after several years of hiding itself rather well.

This new start-finish line location will mean many more spectators. The previous start-finish line on the top of the road over Mount Royal was great for drama, but poor for audience participation.

Also announced was the sixth edition of the five-stage men’s “Greater Montreal Tour” on June 4-7. Stages will be in Chateauguay, Lachine, Little Italy, Granby, and Mont St-Hilaire.

The Greater Montreal Tour is claimed to be the largest road cycling tour in North America.

The stages are:

  • 120 km - Chateauguay - June 4
  • 12 laps of a 9.8 km circuit – Granby – June 5
  • 20 km indiv. time trial – Lachine’s Parc René Levesque - June 6 morning
  • 50 km criterium – Little Italy - June 6 evening
  • 115 km road race in Mont St-Hilaire.

It seems that Montreal is back in the business of supporting bicycle racing. This year sees the creation of the men’s world cup Montreal-Boston stage race.

It wasn’t so long ago that bike racing was a dirty word in Montreal, by this I mean not supported AT ALL. We once had a magnificent Olympic Velodrome. This being Montreal we have long cold winters and this was our chance to race indoors in the winter.

The bad news was that the Velodrome was closed down and the Biodome indoor zoo was built inside. Blame for this tremendous loss lies squarely on ex-mayor Pierre Bourque’s shoulders. So much for world-class sports facilities in our supposedly “world-class”-branded city.

I am glad to see Montreal again supporting bicycle racing. Now how about something for the rest of us poor slobs? Like the fabled bike path across downtown? And how about a mountain bike trail on the NDG escarpment along the now-closed Turcotte rail yards beside autoroute 20?

I'd like to end on a positive and upbeat note, so let’s put it on the calendar: In early june it will time to go outside and see lots of excellent men's and women's bicycle racing.

See you there!


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