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World’s top cyclists competing in the borough

World’s top cyclists competing in the borough

On Sept. 15 some of the world’s best cyclists will complete a 12.1 km circuit, a good part of it in the Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough.

They’ll make their way down Côte-des-Neiges Rd., around the Université de Montreal campus and along Côte-Sainte-Catherine Rd. toward the finish line on Parc Ave.

Then they’ll do it again another 17 times. By the end of the day they’ll have raced a total of more than 200 km.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the Montreal Grand Prix Cycliste (GPC) will be passing through the borough.

Part of the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Tour, the event is a yearly showcase of some of the world’s best cyclists, and one of only two UCI events held in North America this year.

“You’ll have the best cycling teams in the world in Montreal for that one weekend,” the GPC’s executive vice-president Marcel Leblanc said during an interview.

The event has used the same course near Mount Royal for the last four years, and its challenges have remained the same. On Camillien-Houde Drive riders will have to complete 1.8 km at an average gradient of eight per cent. Once they reach Polytechnique Rd. they’ll be going uphill for 200 meters at an 11 per cent gradient.

“These are two of the steepest climbs in the city,” said Leblanc. “It makes it both interesting for spectators and challenging for the athletes.”

The circuit is also chosen for historical reasons, as it’s the same one used during the 1974 world cycling championships in Montreal.

This year’s UCI World Tour includes a record number of Canadian cyclists, with seven Canadians participating. The Montreal GPC will also feature a special all-Canadian team, giving local riders a shot at testing themselves against some of the world’s best.

“We’re proud of the depth of the Canadian talent that is making it into the professional ranks these days, and I

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hope that the Grand Prix Cycliste will continue to be a catalyst of success for our young riders,” said GPC president Serge Arsenault in a statement.

Last year’s winner, Norway’s Lars Petter Nordhaug was able to complete the course in just less than five and a half hours. He’s currently scheduled to be competing this September as a member of the Belkin Pro Cycling Team.

The event is free for spectators and is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. on Sept. 15 on Parc Ave. north of the George-Étienne Cartier monument.

Due to the race itself and the heavy number of spectators expected, the streets along the circuit in the borough will be sectioned off.

Jesse Feith
Photo: GPCQM, Casey Gibson

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