Posted by Editor on 03/24/07
New Mountain Bike World Cup - Gestev Interview
Yesterday it was announced formally that Canada will get a second Nissan Mountain Bike World Cup event to replace the cancelled U.S. race in Angelfire. The replacement event will be a cross-country only event. See Daily News March 23/07 2:45 pm EDT for the complete release.
Gestev, organizers of the classic Mont Ste World Cup will co-organize the new event in St Felicien (200 kilometres north east of Quebec City, in the Lac St Jean area). We spoke earlier today with Patrice Drouin, one of the co-founders of Gestev (and the person who will be in charge of the technical aspects of the race).
Canadian Cyclist - So is this a Gestev event, like Mont Ste Anne?
Patrice Drouin - We are doing a joint venture with the local organizer, since it is so late and there is not a lot of time for preparation.
CC - Yes, this is very late ...
PD - We wanted to do everything possible to avoid cancelling a world Cup, which would not be good for the sport. We hoped to be able to put on a triple ((cross-country, downhill and 4-cross, like Mont Ste Anne, and scheduled originally for Angelfire), but 3 months is not enough time to put this together. The CCA (Canadian Cycling Association) launched a bid process with the main organizers (in Canada), and we said that we could look at it.
CC - St Felicien is not a traditional location...
PD - We originally would have liked to work with Lake Placid (New York); if you remember when it back to back Mont Ste Anne, Mount Snow (Vermont), that was the best combination ever. Lake Placid was interested, but not enough local support in such a short time for them.
We talked with Blue Mountain (Collingwood, Ontario), but it was too fast for them to make a decision. I think they needed to have all of the information - what costs, how many hotels rooms, everything before they could make such a decision, and there was not time.
I suggested Halifax to the CCA - it is a nice city that is very enthusiastic for tourism events, but the notice was maybe too short.
St Felicien is a smaller municipal ski resort, but they have one of the best cross-country courses in the province. The athletes have always been very appreciative of the race up there, so we are feeling good about it.
CC - What can riders expect for the course; will it be like Mont Ste Anne?
PD - We do not know for sure at this point; I will go in 3 weeks after the snow is gone. I expect that we will have to make some changes and additions to adapt it to the World Cup standard. We are already working with the local organizers; they are very aware and very open minded, so I think it will be a good partnership. There are multiple options for the course; it has very good technical sections I am told, and there are two overpasses already there.
CC - This is a smaller more remote location; will they be able to handle a World Cup?
PD - Yes, they have had large events already - last year they had the Motor Trial World Championships, and this event is already very well supported by the local community. It is quite feasible for the teams - some of the World Cups in Europe are not in big areas either, remember. I think we will actually see pretty big crowds here. The registration and logistics of the teams and everything will be done with Mont Ste Anne since it is only one week earlier, so I think it will work well for the teams.
CC - Is this a one year thing, or do you see it continuing in St Felicien?
PD - Definitely we hope to do more than one year; we hope that the UCI will consider extending, since the community stepped in at the last minute to save the race.
CC - It is too bad that it is only a cross-country and that the gravity events will be lost.
PD - Yes, this is true, but if you remember we did a similar thing when we moved the event from Whistler to Grouse Mountain (Vancouver) at short notice, and it was very difficult to do the downhill. we had trouble holding the event two years out of three. If we had 8 or 9 months notice then I think it could have succeeded in Lake Placid.
It is excellent to have two events in Canada, in North America, but it is still most important to have good courses and good organization.
CC - besides the World Cup race will you have any other events?
PD - Yes, of course we will have a Quebec Cup, and a short track race downtown. Of course we will have a big party for the riders on Sunday night before they go back to Europe! (Editor's Note: Gestev parties are legendary...)
Patrice also mentioned that Gestev is bidding for the 2010 World Championships.
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