Posted by Editor on 04/11/16
The Victoriaville region will once again play host to one of the most spectacular cycling events of the calendar year as pro racers and amateurs head for the continent's northeast to once again compete for top prizes, including perhaps the most unique in cycling: the rider's weight in maple syrup, won by pro Mike Woods in 2015. More then 1,100 pounds of maple syrup was awarded in prizes. La Classique des Appalaches will take place on September 17th.
2015 men's podium: Mike Woods, Antoine Duchesne and Rémi Pelletier-Roy form the podium, completed by James Piccoli and Timothy Rugg
Among the most unique and challenging one-day races in North America, it includes climbing over 2,700 metres (8,860 ft) and an epic journey of some 135 kilometres (84 miles), both on asphalt (90 km/56 miles) and graded dirt roads (45 km/28 miles). The jewel in its crown has to be the finish atop Mount Arthabaska, a rise of 2.6 km/1.6 miles at 6.7%, including one 300m section at 12%.
The organization also announced that professional cyclist Hugo Houle, a native of the Centre-du-Québec region, will act as an ambassador and spokesman for the event again this year.
"The off-season has been rather long," said Alexis Pinard, co-founder and president of La Classique. "We've faced several obstacles that were beyond our control and that delayed our announcement for 2016, and we'd like to thank the cycling community, our volunteers, and our partners for their patience and support. On the bright side, these delays provided us with some extra time to work on several key improvements to the event, and I'm happy to say we've managed to raise the bar for our riders and spectators this year."
Changes include moving the starting site to the Complexe Sacré-Coeur, bringing it very close to the finish site, facilitating travel and logistics considerably. Additionally, all Gran Fondo routes (Découverte, Panoramique, and Classique) will now end atop Mont Arthabaska, in order to unite all participants and spectators in the same location, which will make for an incredible atmosphere at the post ride festivities and awards ceremonies.
"Last year, people praised the route selections, our volunteers, and the organization in general, but all agreed on this one improvement; to end a memorable day of riding on the right note, we need to have everyone finishing together at the same site atop Mont Arthabaska," explained Mr. Pinard. "We've listened to the feedback and we'll be making several exciting announcements in the coming weeks to ensure that people enjoy the moment at a whole new level while discovering some of the many replenishing culinary gems the region has to offer, along with the view of course!"
Proclaimed "Race of the Year in Quebec" at the Gala du mérite cycliste québécois organized by the Fédération québécois des sports cyclistes (FQSC), La Classique has already left its mark on the spirit and legs of many riders from here and elsewhere. The FQSC Executive Director, Louis Barbeau, applauded the return of the event, saying: "The first edition of La Classique was a great success, and it has quickly earned its rightful place on the calendar in several respects. Given its many attractions and features, it's not surprising that athletes like Michael Woods, Antoine Duchesne, and others used the race as part of their final preparation for the UCI Road World Championships in 2015. I'm convinced that the 2016 edition will offer an even better experience."
For his part, ambassador and spokesperson for La Classique Hugo Houle - who will be starting the Giro (Tour of Italy) for the second year in a row shortly under the colours of Ag2r-La Mondiale - wants to be at the starting line this year: "Sadly, I was unable to be present for the first edition due to my participation in the World Championship's Team Time Trial (TTT) in Richmond, but I hope to be able to take part in the show this year and win at home. I also invite all cyclists, competitive or recreational, to come and finish the season with us by pushing their limits on whichever route they choose, some of which are 99% paved. Breathtaking landscapes and great memories are guaranteed!"
Leading partners of La Classique, the RCM of Arthabaska and Victoriaville, also welcome the return of the event. Lionel Fréchette, prefect of the RCM of Arthabaska, proclaimed enthusiastically: "It's not only an important sporting event that puts the region right up front for cycling, but it allows several organizations and municipalities to work together on a large-scale project, allowing for the discovery of so many of the area's most enchanting sites. Coordination and commitment of the various partners are necessary to ensure the success of the event, and I am pleased to say that once again, everyone will be on board."
The Mayor of Victoriaville, André Bellavance, extended an invitation of his own to the cycling community: "With its capacity to highlight our region's breathtaking beauty and promote our rich cycling potential, La Classique des Appalaches falls directly in-line with our city's position towards urban health and development. The invitation has now been officially extended to all Gran Fondo riders and avid racers alike to help us write the second chapter of this prestigious event."
Note that registration is now open via the events website (classiquedesappalaches.com). In order to encourage early bookings, rates will increase progressively as the event approaches, so the sooner you register, the more you save! Additionally, all participants from the 2015 edition who register before May 15th, 2016 will receive a 15% discount; more details to follow over the coming days!
1. Mike Woods (World Tour, Cannondale-Garmin in 2016)
2. Antoine Duchesne (World Tour, Direct Énergie in 2016)
3. Rémi Pelletier-Roy (Domestic, Garneau-Québécor in 2016)
1. Véronique Fortin (Domestic, Opus in 2015)
2. Lex Albrecht (World Tour, BePink in 2016)
3. Elisabeth Albert (Domestic, La Vie Sportive Apogée Opus in 2015)
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