Sep 13 2012

Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec et Montréal 2012

The third edition of this great weekend of racing is now in the books, including some historic moments and some personal moments. It’s taken me a while to get settled back in, to wrap up all the coverage, and to digest all that transpired. I’m now getting around to writing about it.

Last year I wrote a few entries during and after the event. Here’s a link to the start of that…
http://nextchapter.kraikerphoto.com/2011/09/second-edition-of-grand-prix-cycliste.html

This year I didn’t have the same amount of time as last year, my schedule was a day shorter at the beginning and it seemed to make the entire trip feel much more compressed. Tight.

A tribute to Eddy

Still, I made a point of getting on the road with a good attitude thanks to the custom decal my friend Greg made.

I got off to a good start and made it to around Trois-Rivières before looking for a campsite. That put me a couple of hours from Quebec so I knew I would get there in time for my first event. The campsite wasn’t anything special and it was pretty much deserted. In fact as hard as I tried to find someone around who I could pay by the time morning came around and I’d had my coffee I just packed up and got on my way.

The hotel in Quebec was not the same as previous years however it was right at the start/finish so that was great. And it’s always nice to stay in a chateau : )

 
My room looked out over the VIP area by the finish
The streets were closed to cars. Not horses or bikes though

What was the same was the parcour… it’s a tough course with steep climbs and fast descents. The final grind to the finish is used for the Sprint Challenge and it must take a lot out of the racers legs to do multiple sprints up that. This year’s winner (Zach Bell of Spidertech) only came to contest the sprint, leaving the WorldTour races for his other teammates.

Matt Goss tweeting about being @ the sprint challenge
Matt Goss@mattgoss1986            Sep 6
Sitting in the tent for the start of the sprint challenge here in Canada reminds me of the track days. Rollers, sprint efforts & skinsuits!

The QC race day started foggy and moist. It had rained the night before but the forecast was clear of precipitation. I got to the press center early after having dropping off some magazines for Ryder @ the Frontenac. Some friends from Belgium had asked for a photo of one a rider they’ve billeted and so for a change I gave someone my camera to take a shot of Matteo with me in the frame.

Early morning on race day in Quebec City
With Matteo Trentin

It was a busy day filled with great moments. Meeting up with Andy and Molly definitely fit into the great part of it. They’re from Massachusetts, we have a common connection through a client and as it turns out Molly was a tour guide with Steve Bauer back in 20044 when Andrea and I went on our first Tour de France trip. Small world.

The peloton in old Quebec

 Quebec is a beautiful city… if you haven’t been there you should go and if you have you know it is (and you should go back). I always look for a different photo to try to show that and for 2012 this is the one…

Just a few of us…

After finishing my work for the day I was too exhausted to go out for a meal, so I missed getting to my favourite crepe place (le Billig). I will make a point of fitting it in for next year though! I did get my fresh pastries in the morning before hitting the road to Montreal for the next part of the event. A stroll through an old cemetery is part of the trip. Down hill and then back up is the rest!. That plus a very windy trip… driving a VW camper in a strong cross wind is not something I enjoy doing!

I got to Montreal just fine though, and early enough that I went out for lunch with some of the commissaries I know. Anne, Ed and Steve were just heading out so I tagged along and we had a great Montreal meal at a fish and chip spot (ya, I know… but go to Brit & Chips and tell me you don’t love it!). I had some interviews lined up for the late afternoon / evening and so I relaxed a little until I was able to connect with these busy folks. The chat I had with Michael Barry of Team Sky after his announcement that he’s retiring is now online and I think it’s a good piece. Here’s the direct link:

I have another that hasn’t been published yet, stay tuned for more info when it is online.

Then it was race day, again. A short trip up to the start/finish area, a little time getting organized, and back to work.

Team Sky
Montreal

Well, done for the day again. Except my accomodations were a couple of hours away. I had a firm reservation though and so I knew it would all be good. And of course it was… getting caught up with Jackie and her kids is always good.

Reserved parking

It feels great to be home. And I will be home this weekend, no commitments to travel. Next weekend thought… that will be heading down to Watkins Glen in the finger lakes region of NY. Looking forward to a VW camping event!

Galleries and coverage that’s available online:
PedalMag.com
Sprint Challenge: http://pedalmag.com/?p=171779&c
Quebec: http://pedalmag.com/?p=172240&c
Montreal: http://pedalmag.com/?p=172609&c

CyclingNews:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/photos/gallery-challenge-sprint-pro-kicks-off-canadian-world-tour-events
http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/grand-prix-cycliste-de-quebec-2012/photoshttp://www.cyclingnews.com/races/grand-prix-cycliste-de-montreal-2012/photos

PodiumInsight:
http://www.podiuminsight.com/2012/09/07/gerrans-wins-in-quebec/

And my website of course, which has a compilation of the photos…
http://kraikerphoto.com/2012_GPCQM_g318.html

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