Posted by Editor on 10/21/00
$10 Million Promised for Cycling Centre in Hamilton
Yesterday afternoon, Minister of Canadian Heritage Sheila Copps held a press conference at Hamilton City Hall to announce the creation of a national cycling centre in Hamilton, Ontario. The centre is to be a legacy of the Road World Championships, which will be held in Hamilton October 6-12, 2003. The announcement was timed to coincide with the formal awarding of the Worlds to canada, after a signing in Nice, France at UCI meetings this past week.
While Centre will not be solely for cyclists, it was the awarding of the Worlds that is the major impetus for the funding. "The reason is the World Championships" said Copps. "There are federal programs in place to provide funding for preparation and legacy of major international events. The 2003 component has already been approved for cycling, and if Toronto gets the 2008 Games, then more money will be forthcoming." Hamilton is the designated site for road and track events in the Toronto 2008 bid.
The Cycling Centre will be established at McMaster University, to make use of the athletic and training facilities already in place. While the exact disposition of the funds will be determined by the Canadian Cycling Association and McMaster, Copps did not rule out the possibility of an outdoor track being built as part of the Centre. "I could see an outdoor track being (at the Centre) before 2003, possibly within the next year."
McMaster's Director of Athletics, Therese Quigley, was much more cautious in her projections. "We are working with the CCA in developing a plan to promote and prepare for the World Championships. We need to integrate with the current national program and plan priorities." When asked specifically what will be offered to cyclists, she could only state "in the short term our training and testing facilities will be available. I can not say at this point what else will be possible until we meet with the CCA." The President of McMaster, Dr Peter George, did say that the cycling centre will be included in a planned field house expansion near Ivor Wynne Centre.
No one from the CCA was in Hamilton for the press conference, partially because of the ongoing UCI meetings in France. Unfortunately, therefore, it was not possible to find out how the CCA proposes to implement the National Cycling Centre.
Giuseppe Ferrara, who started the process of bidding for the Worlds 4 years ago was on hand for the press conference, and said "I'm happy, I feel rewarded after working on it (the bid) so long. Sometimes we have dreams and they seem so far away. Because we are outside of Europe it is much harder to get (the Worlds). In Europe the UCI knows organizers are putting on races all the time, they can see them and feel confident. We had to show that we can do a much better job (than European bidders) in order to win. We first started against 7 other cities, and we had to do a much, much better job than the traditional bidders."
Ferrara said that the next step in the process of putting on the Worlds is to form a Board of Directors. Currently there is no body in place to take over the planning and production of the 2003 Worlds. However, it is expected that this phase will begin shortly, now that the championships have been officially awarded to Canada.
Mr Ferrara said that the course that has been approved for the elite races includes 2 climbs up the Niagara Escarpment per lap, through the downtown core of Hamilton. While it includes parts of the course that were used for the 1995 national championships and the pro race won by Francesco Moser in the late 80s, it is considered to be significantly harder because of the double climb. "I spoke to Moser about the course in Italy a little while ago", said Ferrara. "He said that twice per lap is going to be a very tough go for the riders." The pro men will race 18 laps of the 14.5 kilometre circuit for a total of 261 kilometres, including 66 kilometres of climbing (just over 25%). The start/finish is currently scheduled to be at Mohawk College, along a flat, straight section just after the second climb. That could possibly change to downtown Hamilton, but the problem is that the finish would then come immediately after a long descent.
Minister of Canadian Heritage Sheila Copps announces the National Cycling Centre funding.
Giuseppe Ferrara, initial architect of the successful 2003 Worlds bid.
Official signing of the funding agreement for the National Cycling Centre - (l to r) Local MP Stan Keyes, Minister Sheila Copps, Giuseppe Ferrara, McMaster President Dr Peter George.
A first look at the approved course. A larger version is Here.
Giuseppe Ferrara and Giancarlo Serraferro (who also worked on the bid).
National team member Sue Palmer (11th at the Worlds) with her daughter Trinity was at the press conference.
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