Photos and text by Chris Riddell
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 .
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.
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