Canadian Cyclist


April 8/03 7:39 am - "Vélirium 2003": Mont-Sainte-Anne International Mountain Bike Festival Announced

Posted by Editor on 04/8/03

Vélirium 2003
Courtesy Gestev

Beaupré, Quebec, April 1, 2003 - From June 21 to 29, 2003, at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, it's "Vélirium 2003", the first-ever international mountain bike festival to be combined with the UCI World Cup. This year's event will mark twelve years of World Cups at Mont-Sainte-Anne.

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Mont-Sainte-Anne, held annually since 1991, is now a signature event in the exciting mountain biking scene. Organized by event management firm Gestev, it has become a classic stop on the world circuit. But hold on to your handlebars-the organization is shaking things up for 2003! The traditionally 5 day event is being completely transformed into Vélirium 2003, a 10 day international mountain bike festival with the World Cup worked right into the program.

There's no denying that the years have made Gestev an expert in organizing mountain bike World Cups. The event has always been a success. Turnout has never stopped growing and the 2002 edition drew an impressive 37,500 attendees. The event has earned a bevy of prestigious awards, including the 2002 Tourism Grand Prix in the category "budgets one million and less." The International Cycling Union also presented the organization two of its highly acclaimed Rainbow Awards, naming it the best stop on the World Cup circuit (cross-country and dual/downhill).

The rewards have been rich, but even before winning such honors Gestev was already committed to constantly raising the bar. According to Gestev Vice President Chantal Lachance, "the 90 degree turn we've taken for the summer of 2003 is in fact the culmination of a three-year plan we set out in 2000. The whole idea has been to create a true mountain bike festival not only encompassing the World Cup, but also featuring an extensive program that lets spectators actually participate and experience the thrill." Gestev President Patrice Drouin goes on to add that "other events of the kind have been spectacular successes in other parts of the world, particularly California's Sea Otter Classic and France's Roc d'Azur, among others. We want to make this event a sine qua non for mountain bike enthusiasts around the world."

Ten days of out-of-this-world cycling, sporting, and outdoor activities will dazzle mountain bikers, thrill seekers, and the whole family. In a host of amateur competitions, children, teens, men, and women will go head-to-head in bike and foot races for singles, teams, and families. Families will be fully catered to with daycare services, a children's entertainment area, kids' races, and a big family rally. A bicycle and motorcycle emporium will feature products galore. Also on the program will be seminars on nutrition and other health and sports-related themes.

As a further attraction, special bike tours and outings will be offered between Quebec City and Mont-Sainte-Anne or out to explore the region's many wonders. Participants will have a number of scenic rides to choose from. Quebec's Fête nationale will be celebrated with a friendly mountain bike competition, a huge Quebec City–Mont-Sainte-Anne bike ride (along avenue Royale), and a traditional Saint-Jean bonfire. Visitors can also join in picnics, barbecues, brunch, and a special "Pasta/Musica" feast for all!

Sports enthusiasts will have the opportunity to tackle exciting challenges in a UCI Raid-marathon event, introductory workshops, training camps and clinics, mountain running, and "King of Ze Hill," a mountain climb on foot, by bike, or combined. Some 900 athletes will also be onsite for the cross-country and downhill races of the Coupe du Québec. Fans of extreme sports will be entertained with demos and films.

This prominent international event will even include a major musical component featuring onstage performances, roving entertainment, a rave, live guest DJs, and Vélirium parties in downtown Quebec City and at Mont-Sainte-Anne.

Amid all the action, the international component will remain center stage with training for the UCI World Cup starting on Wednesday, June 25 at Mont-Sainte-Anne. Three World Cup disciplines are on the menu-cross-country, downhill, and 4-cross. Fans will have the chance to meet their favorite world athletes, attend autograph sessions, share their experiences at seminars, and explore a huge exhibition place packed full of exhibitors displaying all the latest products and offering workshops.

Travel packages are now available for visitors who wish to combine tours of the region with these one-of-a-kind attractions.

The 2003 festival is expected to draw nearly 3,000 athletes and participants from 30 countries as well as some 100 international journalists and 50,000 visitors. Organizers are now seeking 500 volunteers to help make the whole adventure possible.


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