November 20/02 9:37 am - 2003 Worlds Launch, Cycling Celebration
Posted by Editoress on 11/20/02
2003 Worlds Launch
On Monday (November 18th), the 2003 Road World Championships had their official launch to the media, and political and corporate partners. Over 100 people turned out for the official unveiling of the new event logo, and to hear speeches by stakeholders from the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
Worlds Chairman David Braley assured all present that preparations for the event were on track and on time, with technical and communications plans well under way. The organization recently hired Neil Lumsden as the COO, and we have heard that a Communications Officer hiring will be announced very shortly, along with other staff.
Heritage Minister Sheila Copps (arriving late after her flight from Ottawa was delayed by the weather) represented the federal government, and clearly considers the Worlds her baby, taking place as it does in her backyard. She also said that the route was handpicked to showcase Hamilton.
"This is the biggest sporting event in the history of Hamilton - bigger than the Commonwealth Games (for which Hamilton is bidding in 2010). There will be over 1000 athletes, including Lance Armstrong; over 800 media, thousands of volunteers and hundreds of thousands of spectators."
Copps went on to give an inspiring speech about how cycling is the fastest growing participation sport in Canada for adults, and how she hopes the Worlds will help encourage more kids to take up cycling, harking back to her childhood and her own first bike (a CCM, of course).
"It is a huge opportunity for our community (Hamilton) and for Canada. We know that we have cycling manics in Canada - this will bring them out and create new ones."
Also present and speaking were Ontario Tourism Minister Frank Klees (who has received considerable credit for stepping in quickly and getting the ball rolling on provincial involvement after former Minister Cam Jackson had to resign), and Mayor Bob Wade.
Steve Bauer provided a brief presentation on the course, revealing that Italian Team Director Franco Ballerini, during his ride on the course two weeks ago, hit 89 kmph on the second descent, suggesting that speeds during the actual races could approach 100 kmph. "We might want to put hay bales on that corner (at the bottom of the descent)."
However, despite the confident tone expressed by organizers, they all recognize that there is a tremendous amount of work to be done, particularly to make up for the delay caused by the hesitancy of the provincial government to commit funds to the event (which was only resolved less then 2 months ago).
"I was always confident that it (provincial involvement) was going to happen" said Minister Copps. "But we had a contract from the Treasury Board, whether the province was involved or not, so the federal money was there. We knew it would work out in the end, because it is important to have all levels (of government) involved."
It is now 320 days and counting to the first event at the 2003 Worlds...
3rd Annual Cycling Celebration
The 3rd Annual Cycling Celebration was held November 16th, 2002, at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto. More than 150 cyclists and supporters met for an enjoyable evening of fun and conversation, despite the snowy conditions outside that kept less hardy traveller at home.
Special thanks to this year's event sponsors: Ontario Cycling Association, Canadian Cyclist, Jones Brown Insurance, Sugoi, Pedal Magazine and Steam Whistle Brewery.
This year's Celebration recognized the Ontario Summer Games athletes with plaques, photos, and gifts from one of the event sponsors, Sugoi.
The OCA Annual Awards were also presented at this event, see the OCA web site at www.ontariocycling.org for a complete list of recipients.
Top Ontario cyclists Chrissy Redden (Subaru/Gary Fisher), Susan Palmer-Komar, Mark Walters (Navigators), and Michael Barry (US Postal) were in attendance, and were recognized for their achievements this year, especially at the Commonwealth Games. Each spoke briefly with MC Curt Harnett about plans for the upcoming season and events of this past season.
Keith and Valerie Davidge were honoured for their lifetime contributions to cycling and the Ontario Cycling Association.