October 28/03 10:57 am - Tentative 2004 National Calendar
Posted by Editor on 10/28/03
National Calendar 2004
There is still no official national racing calendar yet but, from a variety of sources, we have managed to pull together a picture of the current situation. Part of the reason for the delay has been the wait for the UCI to announce the Mountain Bike World Cup schedule, which they did last week. Another problem has been the sudden announcement of NORBA dates in the U.S., and the decision by USA Cycling to hold their Olympic Trials during the GP Beauce dates. However, keeping in mind that this is still subject to change, here is our best guess on what is planned for next season, and our comments.
The Canada Cup will start in the east and move west. The first three events will take place the last two weeks of May and the first week of June, in Bromont, Mont Tremblant and Hardwood Hills. The first two are triples, with Hardwood cross-country only. No surprises here.
Both Mont Ste Anne organizer Gestev and the Squamish Test of Metal group will run UCI sanctioned E1 Marathon events later in June - the unfortunate part is that they take place the same weekend - June 19 (Squamish) and 20th (MSA). The MSA event will be part of the new UCI Marathon World Series. Too bad Squamish couldn't go a week earlier - then riders could go to it, the MSA Marathon and the MSA World Cup a week later.
The Mont Ste Anne World Cup is on its traditional last weekend in June date, and once again will conflict with Road Nationals. We realize that this is the date the European nations use for their Road Nationals, but aren't sure why Canada needs to stick to the same date (last year was a special case, as a test event for the Worlds). There are probably only two or three Canadian riders who benefit with the match up to the European calendar (Michael Barry is the only one we can think of off-hand), and many mountain bikers who would do Road Nationals if it didn't conflict with MSA.
A week after MSA is the new Calgary World Cup at the Calgary Olympic Park, then two weeks later for Mountain Bike Nationals. MTB Nationals are scheduled for eastern Canada this year, but it appears that there is no confirmed organizer so far. We expect one of the traditional Quebec organizers will get the nod.
The Canada Cup starts up again in early August with its western swing, starting in Calgary and then moving to Fernie and finally Sun Peaks - a total of 6 XC events and 5 DH. All events will hold UCI sanctions, we understand - either E1 or E2.
There is still no Canada Cup for road, unfortunately, and some major events are staying off the national and international calendars - specifically the B.C. Superweek events: Delta, Whiterock and Gastown.
Other than that, there are no surprises for road in 2004. At the end of May is the Montreal Women's World Cup, followed by Le Tour du Grand Montreal - the women's UCI stage race. Beauce takes place during its usual dates, but has suffered a big blow with the decision of USA Cycling to hold Olympic Trials during the same period. No word on whether the US Trials will be closed to foreign riders. If they are, then it would mean the potential for a number of composite teams for Canadians that ride in the US normally. If the Trials are open, then we could see only a few top Canadians at Beauce, with the majority performing domestique duties for their American team mates. We will also have to see how the entire team situation shakes out in the U.S., with the loss of Saturn, 7Up and Schroeder Iron (among others).
Road Nationals are scheduled for the next weekend - you have already read our comments regarding the conflict with Mont Ste Anne. It is the turn of the west to host Road Nationals, but the expected organizer - Edmonton - has pulled out, citing too much work to do to prepare for the Masters Games in 2005. You would think that Road Nationals would be a good test run for the Masters...
I know - let's put Road Nationals on the weekend following the Calgary World Cup, and the week before Mountain Bike Nationals (in other words, July 10-11). Wait though, that's when B.C. Superweek takes place. But Superweek doesn't count, since it doesn't have a national sanction (let alone a UCI one), so they don't matter. It could get ugly...
Our Solution: Get Superweek to host the Nationals on its first weekend. You would get the mountain bikers the weekend after Calgary (and most of them are based in BC now). You could even make it an open event and bring in the Americans. We would love to see this, but it probably makes too much sense.
Abitibi continues in its traditional spot on the calendar, and the Classique Montreal-Quebec Louis Garneau is scheduled for August 8th. However, there are rumours that the Classique will drop its UCI sanction. We certainly hope that this does not happen.
The GP Feminin International du Canada, held this year one week before Worlds, is trying to move to either June or August. This was a superb event, and we hope that they can get a date earlier in the season. There was talk among some of the teams this year that it could eventually reach the stature of the now defunct HP stage race for women. For this year, both June and August have problems - US Trials and Olympics respectively. However, in late July - early August, national teams could use it as a final tune up for the Olympics (like they did this year for Worlds). Olympic road events take place August 14, 15 and 18, so if the GP ended August 1, it would dovetail well for Olympic tapering.
The final event on the national road calendar is the Grand Prix Cycliste des Laurentides, the Espoir stage race scheduled for late August. It did not succeed this year (numbers-wise), and may not go next year. We think that maybe they should look at a broader sanction, ie, seniors as well as espoirs. Other than that, we would like to see the eastern Ontario Multi Laser stage race move up to the national level.
With Beauce, Superweek, Nationals, Montreal-Quebec, Laurentides and Multi Laser we would have the nucleus of a men's Canada Cup. For the women it could be Montreal (World Cup and Grand Tour), Superweek, Nationals, Montreal-Quebec, GP Feminin and Multi Laser.
We can hope.
Track / 'Cross
There is only one national event for each of these disciplines - National Championships. The Track Nationals will be out west in early August (they are not a factor in Olympic selection at all), probably in Victoria, and 'Cross Nationals will close out the year in November. No organizer has stepped forward at this time.
So there it is. As we said at the beginning of this piece - it is tentative, and subject to change. Post your comments in the Forums.