Posted by Editoress on 03/19/03
B.C. Super Cycling Week Announces Date Change
A minor alteration could lead to a major change in the starting lineup for B.C. Super Cycling Week this summer. Organizers expect their new dates will attract more Olympic and world class riders for the Tours de Delta, Gastown and White Rock. The dates for Super Cycling Week, part of the SISU BC Cup Series, were moved back a week later to avoid conflict with two important races in the U.S. and Canada. This year Super Cycling Week will begin with the Tour de Delta July 18, 19, 20, include the Steamworks Tour de Gastown on July 23 and wrap up with the Tour de White Rock July 25, 26, 27. The change should help lure riders like Tsawwassen teen star Cam Evans competing the week before in the Canadian National Track Championships. The BC race also expects to draw a number of individual riders and teams who will have just finished one of the biggest races on the U.S. West Coast.
"Delta or White Rock have often been the same weekend as Cascade (in Bend, Oregon) and that has kept many great riders from coming up here to race," explains Tour de Delta and White Rock Race Organizer, Angela Belsham.
One of those great riders is Victoria's Sandy Espeseth. The former Canadian National Road Race champion has never raced in Delta because she's often on a team that races Cascade. The commitment and conflict of dates ended her string of 3 straight Tour de White Rock victories in 2001. Last summer Cascade kept her out of Delta again, but she was able to return the following week and win her 4th White Rock championship in 5 years.
"Sandy's just one example," says Ms. Belsham, "I think we'll see more world class racers this year competing in Super Week. There are many teams from back east (in the U.S.) who come to Cascade and it's not that far for them to come up to BC. The $30,000 purse of the 3 races and the reputation of the events will help attract them. White Rock has always seen a good turn out and Delta has a very good reputation in a short period of time. Now with Gastown back on board we're getting good press and word of mouth publicity from the riders especially with Saturn coming here last year and returning again this summer."
The powerful Saturn team, consistently ranked among the top 3 pro teams in the US for the last 3 years, completely dominated the major races in BC last year. The invincible men's team led by the high-flying McCormack brothers swept all 5 criteriums and road races in Delta, Gastown and White Rock. The Saturn women won 2 of the 3 criteriums. The road to victory will be a little more crowded this year.
"We don't want one team to dominate as much as Saturn did last year," declares Rita Clarkson, Tour de White Rock Race Director. "We are hoping to have 3 or 4 other teams that can challenge Saturn this year. It's a much better show when you have 5 teams competing instead of one. It was absolutely wonderful to have Gastown back on board last year. It created a lot more interest and by moving the dates this summer we think we're going to wind up with the biggest race in the Northwest, one that everyone's going to want to come to."
The more the merrier in the eyes of John McMurchy the Race Director of the Tour de Delta that has been credited with sparking the latest boom in racing and recreational biking. "The sport has come alive in all 3 communities of Delta," he says. "Our fans have become educated in bike racing in a very short period. The performance of the athletes has increased every year. The evolution of the race has been fantastic. We had basically an individual race in our first year, a team event in year two and now we're attracting a number of teams with international quality athletes. It's also been the catalyst for creating new teams in BC. "
The race has also achieved one of its other original goals in Delta, increasing the number of recreational riders. As a director of the Parks and Recreation Department, McMurchy has noticed a definite trickle down effect from the big race. "We're seeing more and more people riding for fun and fitness. We're also seeing an increasing in commuting by bicycle. The engineering department has taken the lead in developing commuting lanes and bike paths throughout Delta. Combine that impact with the increased profile of Delta outside the borders of Delta and you can see why we remain committed to developing this event in a positive way each and every year."
In addition to being more competitive, this year's Tours de Delta & White Rock events also promise to be faster and safer than ever. They have decided to eliminate entries for more inexperienced riders with a category 5 license (racers are rated in categories 1 to 5 ranging from the top pros in Cat 1 to beginners and novices in Cat 5).
The Lehigh Cement Criterium on Saturday night in downtown Ladner will have the Cat 3-4 racers in one race and the Pro Cat 1-2 racers in the main event. The same will apply to the White Rock events.
"It'll make our races a lot safer", says Mr. McMurchy. "We expect to have 50 to 60 riders in the first race, as opposed to about 25 last year. It will really increase the quality of the racing, especially in the Pro 1-2 race. It's going to have a little smaller field with more room to race. It's going to be a very fast, hotly competed event."
Tour de Delta
Westshore Terminals Hill Climb: Friday, July 18th. Start time - 7:00 pm. Start: Centre Street at River Road, North Delta, BC
Lehigh Cement Criterium: Saturday, July 19th. Start time - 5:00 pm. Start/Finish: Delta Street at Bridge Street, Ladner, BC
White Spot Road Race: Sunday, July 20th. Start time - 8:00 am. Men's Start: Sungod Recreation Centre 7815 112th Street, North Delta, BC. Men's Finish / Women's Start/Finish: 56th Street at Winskill Park, Tsawwassen BC.
For more information phone (604)952-3545 or visit the website at www.tourdedelta.com.
Steamworks Tour de Gastown
Criterium: Wednesday, July 23rd. Start/Finish: Water Street at Abbott 6:00 pm
For more information phone (604)836-9993 or visit our website at www.tourdegastown.com
Tour de White Rock
Hill Climb: Friday, July 25th. Start time - 6:00 pm. Start/Finish: Buena Vista at Oxford, to Johnston Road, White Rock, BC
Tech Shop Criterium: Saturday, July 26th. Start time - 3:00 pm. Start/Finish: Johnston Road at Roper Avenue, White Rock, BC
Peace Arch News Road Race: Sunday, July 27st. Start time - 8:00 am. Start/Finish:Pier on Marine Drive, White Rock, BC
For more information phone (604) 541-2161 or visit our website at www.city.whiterock.bc.ca
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