Posted by Editoress on 05/31/11
The Beginning of a New Era
It is with great excitement that organizers of the Mardis Cyclistes bicycle races announce the launch of this 34th season of activities. In precisely one week--on Tuesday June 7--the starting gun will fire for the 331st race in the history of the Mardis series. To mark the occasion, $5,500 will be paid out to whoever beats the record for this circuit.
Currently, it is Guillaume Boivin--a bronze medal winner at the 2010 U23 World Championships--who holds the Mardis record. On the 11thof August 2009, Boivin pedalled 31 times around LaSalle Park with a time of 58 minutes and 52 seconds on the 50km course, giving an average speed of 50.9 km/h. He literally shattered the previous record established by Dominique Rollin who now rides with Française des Jeux (FDJ) in Europe.
In 2011, prize winnings will be increased by $500 per stage (a 50km stage race is contested each week), until someone breaks Boivin’s 2009 record. As such, a cyclist who breaks the record on the tenth and final stage of season (presented on Tuesday, August 16) could ride off with a purse worth $10,000. In total, prize winnings for the 34th edition will add up to $24,750, something never before seen!
The founding president of the Mardis series, Joseph “Tino" Rossi, believes that this 'monstrous' prize offer will attract top level teams. This will be the beginning of a new era. “Already, four or five professional teams from the U.S.A. have indicated interest in competing at our grand finale. But I have confidence: if the record is broken, it will be a Quebecer who will pull it off. Local cyclists have the home turf advantage here,” he explains with enthusiasm.
The defending champion of the Pro-Élite Saputo cup, Jean-François Laroche, will try to bag the fourth season title of his career. Jean-François however, will have to contend with new adversaries such as the Japanese team Fuji-Cycling Time. And there will be a new jersey awarded this year to the most 'combative' cyclist (leading the most number of laps) which should help to animate the spectacle.
The honorary president of this 34th edition will be former Montreal Canadien hockey player, Yvon Lambert. He is the fifth former player from that NHL team to hold the title in the history of the Mardis Cyclistes.
A success since 1978
Many famous cyclists from Quebec first came into prominence at these Lachine bike races. Among the names are Dominique Rollin (junior champion in 1998), Martin Gilbert (four-time winner of the senior men’s title), Guillaume Boivin (most promising cyclist of 2008) and Hugo Houle (most promising cyclist of 2009).
Cycling aficionados are invited to LaSalle Park in Lachine, from Tuesday, June 7th until Tuesday, August 16th (with a break on July 19), to watch top road cyclists from Quebec, Canada and soften top international cyclists fight to see who can be the fastest. The minime and junior races start at 5:30 p.m. while the feature show of the evening--the senior men’s elite race, is presented at 7 p.m. There is no entrance fee to watch these races.
That the Mardis series has been so successful for so many years is notably thanks to the indefatigable support provided by the borough of Lachine. The organisation also thanks its valuable sponsors and partners, without whom it would be impossible to present an event of this scale: Saputo, Samson Groupe Conseil, Specialized-Quilicot, Assurances Morin, la caisse Desjardins Provost de Lachine, LaSalle Fiat, Molson, Pepsi-Cola, Bacardi, the Montreal police (SPVM), Urgences Santé, and the Montreal fire department (SIM).
Courtesy Mardis Cyclistes
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