A new international sports event - Québec and Montréal will host North
America's First Grand Prix Cycliste UCI ProTour Québec-Montréal races

MONTREAL, Oct. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - The Mayor of Montréal, Gérald Tremblay, and the Mayor of Québec, Régis Labeaume, accompanied by representatives of the federal and provincial governments, today announced annual maximum investments of $945,000 respectively over five years to hold the Québec-Montréal UCI Pro-Tour Cycling Grand Prix. This brings the total annual investment in this project by the federal, provincial and municipal levels to $3.69 million. Officials of the International Cycling Union (UCI) appeared by video at the announcement.

Serge Arsenault, who is well known for hosting and presenting international sports events in Montréal, has organized these major world-calibre sports competitions. The world's best cyclists will participate. According to the memorandum of understanding, these races will run from September 2010 through 2014. Montréal and Québec will each hold a UCI ProTour competition. The first event will kick off in Québec on Friday, September 10 and be followed by a second race in Montréal on Sunday, September 12, 2010. The two encounters will be North America's only ProTour races.

The UCI's decision is part of its effort to bring cycling activities to different continents. The Fédération québécoise des sports cyclistes and the Canadian Cycling Association received the news with great enthusiasm. A U23 event will be held alongside the two major competitions. Participants will include Canada's top cyclists under 23 years of age, accompanied by international-class contenders from Europe and the United States. The U23 race will run from Baie-Saint-Paul to Québec on Thursday, September 9, 2010.

"Québec and Montréal are two outstanding venues for this big North American first. These events highlight the key role cycling plays in Montréal. Montréal has hosted the Grand prix cycliste des Amériques and the annual Women's Road Cycling World Cup and is of course home to thousands of fans who will turn out to see some of the biggest names in their sport. Two cities will showcase these exceptional face-offs between world-class cyclists," observed Montréal Mayor Gérald Tremblay.

"Holding this international cycling competition in Québec over the next five years is part of our ongoing efforts to host international sports and cultural events," noted Québec Mayor Régis Labeaume. "We hope these races will spread the European passion for high-level cycling throughout Québec and the rest of North America."

Routes will be homologated by the UCI and pass through the most beautiful scenery of Québec and Montréal, including Old Québec and Mount Royal. The sports events will be accompanied by other festive activities, such as a train ride for the athletes between Québec and Montréal.

High-level cycling triggers great passions throughout Europe, particularly in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Russia and Poland. Many European fans will certainly follow this new race in the media and may even attend. Interest in cycling has also soared among Americans and Canadians since the "Armstrong Era."

Past and present relations between Québec, the rest of Canada and the cycling community augur well for the success of this ongoing event. Prior cycling competitions include the legendary Québec-Montréal race in the 1950s, the Tour du Saint-Laurent, the World Road Championships (1974), the Montréal Olympics (1976), the Men's Road World Cup (1988-91), the Tour de l'Abitibi, the World Road Cycling Championships in Hamilton (2003) and the annual Women's Road Cycling World Cup on Mount Royal.

"This is a huge win for Québec and Montréal, which now rank among the world's great cycling destinations. I am delighted by this important annually recurring sports festival that all can attend without charge," said Serge Arsenault, President of Grand Prix Cycliste UCI ProTour Québec-Montréal.

SOURCE Ville de Montréal - Cabinet du maire et du comité exécutif

For further information: For further information: Gonzalo Nunez, Service des Communications et des relations avec les citoyens, Ville de Montréal, (514) 868-1127; Jacques H. Perron, Service des communications, Ville de Québec, (418) 641-6411, ext. 2542; Source: Martin Tremblay, Press Secretary to the Mayor, Ville de Montréal, (514) 872-0274; Paul-Christian Nolin, Press Secretary to the Mayor, Ville de Québec, (418) 641-6434

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