The Tour de Gatineau, 100% Feminine!
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Tour de Gatineau, one of the most prestigious events in women's road cycling, is set to return to the streets of Gatineau, Quebec. The event is classified as a 1.1 race by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and will take place on September 15, 16, and 17. The Tour de Gatineau will feature two one-day races, an individual time trial, and a road race, both finishing in front of the iconic British Hotel.
Former professional cyclist Karol-Ann Canuel, a two-time Olympian and national champion, has become the Executive Director of the organizing committee team. Ex-pro cyclist Alexander Cataford will be the vice director of the event. Canuel, who recently retired from professional cycling, is passionate about bringing the Tour de Gatineau back to the UCI calendar and sees it as an opportunity to inspire young people about health and fitness.
Canuel aims to reach the top level of the sport by 2026 when the Montréal World Championships will take place. She believes that the Tour de Gatineau is an important event for female cyclists in North America and is part of the Global Relay Bridge the Gap Canadian Cup, which includes the British Grand-Prix criterium with both men and women elite races.
Canuel's involvement has received positive feedback from John Large, ex-Executive Director, and advisor. Large stated, "She will bring a new energy, and this is very positive for the future."
The Tour de Gatineau has the support of Cycling Canada, the Quebec Cycling Sports Federation (FQSC), and the City of Gatineau. The FQSC Executive Director, Louis Barbeau, emphasized the importance of an international event on Quebec soil for young female athletes to race against the world's elite. The Chief Development Officer of Cycling Canada, Mathieu Boucher, sees the event as a step forward for young athletes and a great way to earn UCI points in Canada.
Canuel expressed her excitement about the support received from these organizations. She said, "It warms my heart to have so many people come together to ensure the success of the return of the Tour de Gatineau. Despite the enormous workload at hand, I immediately had their interest and their support."
Canuel believes that the Tour de Gatineau will have a significant positive economic impact on the region. Further details about the event will be announced as the organization continues its planning.
Photo caption: Women cyclists
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Tour de Gatineau