Photos from the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2013

Photos and text by Chris Riddell

Thousands of people gathered at Parc Mont Royal to watch the event. Roads were blocked off, and public transit was diverted for the weekend to set up the 11 km course.

In Montréal on Sunday, September 15, 2013 thousands gathered at Parc Mont Royal to watch the Grand Prix Cycliste, a pro cycling race that takes place every year since 2010. The racers had just come out of the Quebec City stop of the Grand Prix circuit on the previous Friday, and after a day’s rest at Le Delta Centre-Ville, were ready to challenge the hills and streets of Montréal .

Having just moved to Montréal  three weeks prior to the event, I was still getting to know this lovely city and it was also my first time at the race. Before this, I had never even been to a professional cycling race before, so I was amazed at what a massive turnout the event received. Montréal  has a huge cycling community and the city was rated one of the top 20 cycling cities in the world. Almost every major street in the city has a bike lane, including many separated bi-directional lanes, and many people use their bikes to get around. Montréal is also where Bixi started off, and it has the largest network of any city where the sharing network can be found with over 5000 bikes.

The Grand Prix is such a huge draw in this city because cycling is such a big part of the culture. In the crowds that day, many people brought their bikes, and some were decked out in spandex suits looking like they were supposed to be in the race themselves. The pro cycling circuit promotes cycling as a viable sport, and in this city it is already widely accepted.

It was an exciting day at the park, and, my god, there were there an awful lot of spandex outfits around! I wanted to get a shot of Canadian pro cyclist, Ryder Hesjedal (we featured him in our food issue last year), but couldn’t find among the crowd of 164 riders in the race.

Here’s a collection of snapshots from my day at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal .

On the east side of Avenue du Parc there was a vendors section with free coffee and samples of rice, sunscreen, energy bars and gum. The pavilion is a staple of the Grand Prix.

A rider from the Belkin Pro Cycling Team gets ready for the race, adjusting his gears and making sure his ride is in tip top shape.

The race begins and 164 riders take off, heading north on Avenue du Parc.

At the end of the first lap, the pack is lead by riders from Lamprey-Merida (pink) and Team Argos-Shimano (white). This was only the first lap, and the racers still had another 16 laps to go until the race was over.

Trailing behind the leaders, the rest of the race came past like a swarm of spandex, helmets, and wheels.

The track goes up Chemin Camellien-Houde, beginning a steady climb. Anyone who has ridden a bike through Montréal knows how hilly the city is, and this part of the course is as challenging as any.

The race was lead by several police officers and race officials on motorcycles making sure the way ahead was clear for the oncoming racers.

Chemin Remembrance is a long road traversing Parc Mont Royal. Spectators waited along the shoulder for the racers to pass by, many with cameras, phones or tablets taking pictures and video.

Following the racers was a convoy of SUVs and vans with back up bikes, in case one of the riders should crash and damage their ride.

Towards the end of the course they came down Chemin de la Cote Ste-Catherine, a curvaceous road bringing them downhill and back to Avenue du Parc. The riders flew past with incredible speed, sometimes going as fast as 70 km/h.

After five hours of hard riding, Slovakia’s Peter Sagan won 1st place, surging past Canada’s own Ryder Hesjedal in the final lap. Italy’s Simone Ponzi took 2nd, and Hesjedal, a crowd favorite, had to settle for 3rd.  Next up for Sagan will be the World Championship in Italy, on September 29.


Related on the dandyBLOG:

Grand Prixe Cyclise recap

"The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World" Major Taylor

3,2,1.. Polo Toronto! 

Councillor Pam McConnell Supports Bixi Expansion

Some Photos from the Toronto International Bike Show 2013

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One response to “Photos from the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2013”

  1. Robert says:

    Nice shots and recap! Thanks for sharing. There are a couple of Ryder Hesjedal shots on my site if you want to link to them 🙂

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