Move over, Tour de France—your baby brother’s gotten a little bigger and has started getting noticed. Forgot his name? It’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, now say that over and over and don’t forget!
Started in 2010 by Canadian broadcasting company, Groupe Serdy, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec hosted its second annual edition this past September in Québec City and Montréal. Québec City was practically on break as residents and tourists alike relaxed along the streets on the gorgeous clear, blue-sky day, cheering for their favorite teams.
Recently the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec has been recognized as one of the races of the elite UCI World Tour, which “brings together the world’s greatest road races.” Just before the competition, 22 teams representing 12 countries gathered together around the Grande Allée to speak to their fans and answer questions. Unlike most bicycle races that take place over the course of a few weeks, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec lasts for only one day in Québec City and one day in Montréal. In Québec City, riders are required to ride 16 laps around the city which has 4 major hills that pass through the old city and gardens surrounding the city. The Montréal race follows a similar route, with 17 laps and three hills.
Fans were on the edge of their seats in Québec City, where the winner, Philippe Gilbert, of the Belgian Team Omega Pharma-Lotto beat Robert Gesink of the Dutch Team Rabobank by only 3 seconds. In past races Gilbert has won individual stages for the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta España. In Montréal, Portuguese cyclist from Team Movistar, Rui Costa, finished the race first in 5 hours, 20 minutes, 18 seconds.
Although this year marked only the second race, both cities were packed with people proud to be a part of this new Canadian tradition. It’s the perfect way to spend a day in Québec City or Montréal—whether you’re an avid sports fan who wants to enjoy the race or just a tourist trying to catch an exciting glimpse of the city. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even get to have a one-on-one chat with your favorite athlete.
For more information on the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec or the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, visit: http://gpcqm.ca