Last year the inaugural Tour de PEI won Road Event Organizer of the Year from the Canadian Cycling Association. Pretty good, considering it was only the first year! The race was so successful that cyclists have been calling up asking if they can participate. Daniel Manibal, the event’s organizer, has organized a similar event in Montreal for the past nine years. He’s very pleased with the results and says, “I feel that the Tour de PEI will become one of the great UCI International Tours because of the exceptional courses and the great support of all the partners.”
What’s in store for 2008? The race goes from June 8th to 12th. One hundred of the world’s best female cyclists are coming. That includes 20 of Canada’s best, including Alexandra Wrubleski, Audrey Lemieux, and Emilie Roy. International teams include some of the most élite cyclists from the US, Europe, Cuba, Australia, New Zealand and China. Check out the athletes page on the tourdepei website to see profiles of the top racers.
This year the route is more technically challenging because cyclists asked for more turns and hills to be added. The course is 403 kilometres long with a 120 kilometre race through the hilliest regions of beautiful Prince Edward Island and a time trial across the Confederation Bridge. The two longest legs have long climbs and short steep runs.
Here are the stages:
Stage 1: A race through Summerside on June 8 totalling close to 100 kilometres.
Stage 2: A time trial June 9 across the Confederation Bridge starting in Cape Jourimain and finishing about 15 kilometres later at the Gateway Village in Borden–Carleton.
Stage 3: Kensington to North Rustico (about 120 km).
Stage 4: Dalvay–Montague–Stratford (about 120 km).
Stage 5: A 50-lap circuit in downtown Charlottetown as cyclists fly around a one-kilometre route in the criterium race. The field is narrowed each time a racer is lapped by the lead cyclist.
There is also an amateur event and a Juniors’ ride that will take place before some of the stages.
One year old and already on the world cycling map. And a women’s race to boot!
Check it out at http://www.tourdepei.com.
- Gillian Scobie
© 2008 Gillian Scobie