July 10/08 7:11 am - Olympians Line Up for Tour de Gastown
Posted by Editor on 07/10/08
Olympians Line Up for Tour de Gastown
At least five members of Canada's road and track cycling teams for next month's Olympic Games in Beijing are scheduled to compete in the BC Cancer Foundation's Tour de Gastown next Wednesday (July 16th). They will be some of the nearly 200 riders who will take to the streets for British Columbia's premier bicycle race and the centrepiece of the BC Super Week series of bike races.
Event Director Jonathan Wornell said the race is a great opportunity for residents of the Lower Mainland to not only see Olympic standard competitors in action, but also to give encouragement to the Canadian team members in what will be one of their final warm-up races before Beijing.
"These are probably the best fields we've ever had for the race," said Mr. Wornell. "Last year's men's and women's champions are returning to defend their titles, we have the cream of the men's and women's Olympic road and track teams competing, and we have one of the highest ranked Tour de France finishers ever to race in Vancouver. This is going to be an evening to remember."
This year's Tour de Gastown is also part of the 10-race USA CRITS Championship Series (www.usacrits.com). It is the only race outside of the U.S. in the series. Wornell said inclusion of the race in the USA CRITS Series was a clear indication that the race has reached a new level in North America.
The Olympians who are scheduled to be in action are:
* Defending women's Tour de Gastown champion, Erinne Willock, of Victoria.
* Former women's champion, Gina Grain, of Burnaby.
* Current women's national road racing champion, Alex Wrubleski, of Regina.
* Svein Tuft of Langley who won the men's road time trial at the Canadian national road race championships in Quebec earlier this month.
* Zach Bell of Watson Lake, Yukon.
Also scheduled to race are:
* Current men's Tour de Gastown champion, Kirk O'Bee, of North Vancouver.
* Newly-crowned men's national road race champion, Christian Meier, of Langley, B.C.
* Former National champion Cam Evans, of Surrey, B.C.
* Former Tour de Gastown winner, Hilton Clarke, of Victoria, Australia.
* American Chris Horner, who finished 15th overall in the 2007 Tour de France.
* Yosvany Falcon, current leader of the USA CRITS Series
* Frank Travieso, 2007 USA CRITS Champion
So far, the following teams have entered riders for the Tour de Gastown:
* Cheerwine Pro Cycling Team
* ValueAct Capital
* Vanderkitten Racing
* Webcor Builders Cycling Team
* Jazz Apple Cycling Team
* Total Restoration Cycling Team
* Wines of Washington
* Giant Bicycles/Team Whistler
* Bissell Pro Cycling Team
* BMC Pro Cycling Team
* Calyon Pro Cycling Team
* Escape Velocity
* Glotman Simpson
* Health Net Pro Cycling Team
* Jet Fuel Coffee Cycling
* Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling
* Symmetrics Cycling
* Team Aviawest
* Team H&R Block
* Team Rio Grande Cycling
* Team Waste Management
* Toshiba - Santo Pro Cycling Team
* Total Restoration Cycling Team
* Toyota United
* Trek - Red Truck Racing Team
As always, the Tour de Gastown is a free event for spectators. Weather permitting, as many as 40,000 are expected to line the streets of Gastown to cheer on their favourite riders. There will also be pre-race family-oriented entertainment and an expo area of bike-related merchandise, equipment and services.
The BC Cancer Foundation's Tour de Gastown title is contested by men and women in separate races over a super-fast 1.2 km course on the streets of Gastown. It attracts some of North America's top riders who battle for more than $15,000 in cash prizes. Past winners have included seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.
The women's race, over 30 laps (36km), is expected to attract about 60 riders and will begin at 6:15 p.m. The 50-lap (60km) men's race has a maximum field of 130 riders and will start at 7:30 p.m.
With the start and finish line at the Gastown steam clock on Water Street, the course includes a 165-degree hairpin turn onto Cordova Street, a three-block downhill sprint to a sharp left turn onto Carrall Street, a sweep through Maple Tree Square before a 250-meter dash to the finish line along Water Street's cobble stones.
The Tour de Gastown is part of the BC Super Week of bike races. The other events in the series are:
* The Tour de Delta on July 11, 12 and 13
* The Giro de Burnaby on July 17
* The Tour de White Rock on July 18, 19 and 20.
Visit www.tourdegastown.com for race details and updates. All proceeds from the Tour de Gastown will go to the BC Cancer Foundation to be used for cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency. For sponsorship opportunities please contact Alysia McNeice at firstname.lastname@example.org.