What's Cool In Road Cycling

Tour De Delta Eyeing National Spotlight


The Tour de Delta is going national, on two fronts. The bike race, in its second year as part of the six-race SISU BC Cup series, has applied to become a nationally sanctioned event in 2003. It also hopes to get national exposure this year on Sportsnet, one of Canada’s two all sports television networks.

Both developments show how far the Tour has come in its brief existence according to race director, John McMurchy. “We have a five year plan to make this one of the top races in Canada,” he says, “after the success we had last year, becoming a national race is the logical next step.”

The Tour committee voted to apply for the national status on the condition that Delta will be allowed to keep the same date in mid-July each year. This year’s 3 stage race and the Mayor’s Rally will be held July 12, 13, 14.

Delta would become the only national race in British Columbia. The Tour de White Rock, that runs the weekend after Delta’s race, had national status for more than half of its 24 year history. “When Gastown dropped out 10 years ago and we were on our own we simply couldn’t attract the field to stay national, “ explains White Rock race director, Rita Clarkson, adding “I think Delta’s doing the right thing by applying. Given the direction they want to go, getting national sanction is an easy choice. There’s no question the national sanction gives your race a lot of prestige and added status.”

The race organizer for both Delta and White Rock, Angela Belsham is certain it will raise the level of cycling in Delta and also help Gastown and White Rock that are always scheduled in the following week. “It’s a lot easier to recruit,” she says. “The large teams set their calendar around the national events. So it’s easier for them to schedule our race months ahead. When you’re part of the national schedule that also reduces the risk of being in conflict with other races in other parts of Canada. Our race receives more merit, respect and recognition from being a national event and that will assist with sponsorship.”

It will be next October or November before the Canadian Cycling Association considers Delta’s application to become a nationally sanctioned race. Approval will not be automatic. Normally the national designation is restricted to so called “classic” races. Ms. Belsham explains, “you have to be around for five years before you can be termed a classic race but we’re hoping the success we’ve had in our first two years will be enough to get the cycling association to waive the five year waiting period.”

Meanwhile negotiations continue to get this year’s Tour on national television. Delta Cable, which won a prestigious national award for last year’s coverage of the Tour de Delta, is negotiating with Roger’s Sportsnet to have the race televised from coast to coast. An early agreement, to show the race twice on Sportsnet’s Pacific network and once on the national network, is in jeopardy because Sportsnet is demanding exclusive rights to the product which would limit Delta Cables frequent reruns of the race.

Adnan Hussein, the producer who won a Galaxy cable award for last year’s exceptional and extensive coverage of the Lehigh Cement criterium and the White Spot road race, says “we’re still hoping we can talk Sportsnet into letting us air the race as often as we like. If not, we’ll do it ourselves again this year. “ Delta Cable tapes the races for later broadcast and shows them repeatedly throughout the following year.

Tour de Delta At-A-Glance

Westshore Terminals Hill Climb: Friday, July 12th. Start time – 7:00 pm. Start: Centre Street at River Road, North Delta, BC
Mayors Rally presented by Envision Financial, Community Recreational Ride: Saturday, July 13th. Start time – 10:00 am
Lehigh Cement Criterium: Saturday, July 13th. Start time – 5:00 pm. Start/Finish: Delta Street at Bridge Street, Ladner, BC
White Spot Road Race: Sunday, July 14th. Start time – 8:00 am. Men’s Start: Sungod Recreation Centre 7815 112th Street, North Delta, BC. Men’s Finish / Women’s Start/Finish: 56th Street @ Winskill Park, Tsawwassen BC.

For more information phone (604) 952-3545 or check out our website at www.corp.delta.bc.ca. To register phone (604) 541-2161.

Steamworks Tour de Gastown

Я Criterium: Wednesday, July 17th. Start time – TBA

To register or for more information, call White Rock Leisure Services at 604-541-2161

Tour de White Rock At-A-Glance

– Hill Climb: Friday, July 19th. Start time – 6:00 pm. Start/Finish: Buena Vista @ Oxford, to Johnston Road, White Rock, BC
– Criterium: Saturday, July 20th. Start time – 3:00 pm. Start/Finish: Johnston Road @ Roper Avenue, White Rock, BC
– Road Race: Sunday, July 21st. Start time – 8:00 am. Start/Finish:Pier on Marine Drive, White Rock, BC

To register or for more information, Call White Rock Leisure Services at (604) 541-2161 or visit our website at www.city.whiterock.bc.ca

Contact: Eric Dwyer
Media Relations Coordinator
(604) 943-7977

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