Tour de Delta Format Change Adds Speed to BC Superweek
~ Exciting, Fan Friendly Criterium replaces Prologue on opening night
As one of Canada’s top sprinters, North Vancouver’s Andrew Pinfold has long been a fixture atop the BC Superweek podiums, with victories at every criterium in the race’s history, including the prestigious old Tour de Gastown in 2009.
Pinfold actually swept the criteriums that year (For the uninitiated in Vancouver, a criterium, or “crit,” is a multiple-lap race on a shorter closed course through city streets, with riders reaching speeds up to 70 kilometres an hour in tightly packed peletons and around even tighter corners).
So it figures Pinfold didn’t mind the Tour de Delta switched Friday’s opening race of BC Superweek away from a Prologue, a one-rider-at-a-time time trial format, and added another exciting criterium through the streets of North Delta.
“From my own perspective, yeah, because I’m probably a little bit better crit rider than I am a time trialist so I’m going to be happy with that change,” said Pinfold, who also won three straight Tour de Delta road races, and spent the early part of this season racing in Europe with his United Healthcare Pro Cycling team.
“I also think the criterium is going to be more exciting for the people watching just because of the fast nature of criterium racing.”
That’s good news for cycling fans in Vancouver, because the inaugural UBC Grand Prix on Tuesday, July 12, and the return of the Giro di Burnaby two nights later on Thursday, July 14, means five of the eight races at this year’s $65,000 BC Superweek are the spectator friendly, fan favourite criterium format.
Pinfold’s presence helps assure they will be fast, especially since he is coming to BC Superweek with United Healthcare teammate Christian Meier, who will ride the Tour de Delta this weekend before returning to his base in Girona, Spain to resume a predominantly European racing schedule.
Pinfold and Meier top the 2011 BC Superweek Riders to Watch list (after the Tour de Delta schedule below) , but they are far from the only ones to keep a close eye on. Not with Team Spidertech riders Will Routley and Ryan Anderson, who like Pinfold and Meier are regulars on the European peleton, also taking part in this year’s racing. With top teams from North America also coming up, it figures to be fast and exciting:
2011 Tour de Delta Schedule
MK Delta Criterium – Friday, July 8
Start time: 6:30pm Women, 7:30pm Men Pro
Start/finish line: 84 Ave. & 114 St. in North Delta.
Brenco Criterium – Saturday, July 9
Start time: 6:15 pm Women. 7:20 pm Pro Men
Start/finish Line: Delta St & Bridge St in Ladner Village
White Spot Road Race – Sunday, July 10, 2011
Start: 9 a.m. Sungod Recreation Centre at 7815 112th Ave in North Delta
Finish line: Winskill Park, 56th Street at 9th Avenue, Tsawwassen
2011 BC Superweek Riders to Watch
- Christian Meier and Andrew Pinfold
United Healthcare Pro Cycling
One of Canada’s top sprinters, Pinfold has been a fixture atop the BC Superweek podium for years, including three straight Tour de Delta road race wins, and victories at every criterium at BC Superweek, including a sweep in 2009 that also featured prestigious Tour de Gastown. Meier, 26, made a name for himself as the 2008 Canadian Road Race champion, and has been mostly competing the past two seasons in Europe. He raced last year on a Garmin Pro Tour squad that also featured current Canadian Tour de France competitor Ryder Hesjedal and Tyler Farrar (a BC Superweek alumnus who won the July 4 Tour de France stage) in 2010 before coming over to United Healthcare this season.
- Will Routley and Ryan Anderson
Team Spidertech powered by C10
Routley, who returns from his first spring season in Europe, won the Canadian National Road Race title on his own in 2010 and recently finished second in the 2011 race as part of a clean podium sweep for Team Spidertech, a squad put together by Canadian cycling legend Steve Bauer with the goal of one day soon competing in the Tour de France. At the Canadian championships, Routley finished just behind Olympians Svein Tuft and ahead of Zach Bell, a pair of fellow BC Superweek alums. He will be swapping in and out of this year BC Superweek with Spidertech teammate Anderson, who also raced in Europe this season, and already has a handful of Tour de Delta victories and podiums on his resume.
- Eric Wohlberg
Even at age 46 years old, Wohlberg is one to watch closely. In addition to three straight Olympics, he won gold medals for Canada in the Time Trial at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and 1999 Pan Am Games, a bronze in the Road Race at the at the Commonwealth Games, and was on seven Canadian entries at the World Championships. He has posted 76 stage and overall victories at major US races, and eight straight Canadian Time Trial Championships, a streak that Svein Tuft, a former teammate, is closing in on with a seventh win last week.
- Ben Chaddock
Team Exergy Pro Cycling
Chaddock, a Whistler native with a downhill skiing background, burst onto the scene by knocking off seven-time Canadian Time Trial champion and Olympian Svein Tuft in the Tour de Delta Prologue last year, raising the eyebrows and of interest of Team Exergy and earning a spot with them for this season. He also earned some time with the Canadian track team, an opportunity he will continue to pursue. In the meantime, after his first full season of NRC racing in the United States, Chaddock brings a loaded and deep Exergy squad to BC Superweek, including Fast Freddy Rodriguez, a three-time US Road Race National Champion who counts a stage win at the prestigious Giro d’Italia among his many cycling accomplishments, in the hopes of adding some more Tour de Delta titles to the one that jumpstarted his career last year.
- Nic Hamilton
Jelly Belly Pro Cycling
This season Nic Hamilton became the latest in a long list of recent graduates from the Vancouver-based Trek Red Truck competitive amateur cycling team to move onto the pro circuit, replacing Will Routley as the lone Canadian on the US-based Jelly Belly Pro Cycling squad. With Jelly Belly teammates Brad Huff and Sean Mazic coming north for support, Hamilton, who finished third overall at the Tour de White Rock last season, will again be a rider worth watching closely.
- Marsh Cooper
Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth
Like Hamilton, Cooper was a graduate of Trek Red Truck, moving on to the powerhouse but now-defunct Langley-based Symmetrics Pro Cycling squad for three years before taking a long break from competitive racing. He returned last summer with Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth, and will bring three other riders from the highly regarded North American pro quad with him – Julian Kyer, Daniel Halloway and Reid Mumford – to ensure a strong team performance.
For more information on BC Superweek and the schedule, please check out the new website at www.bcsuperweek.ca, and to arrange photos of, and interviews with, the cyclists as they are announced, please contact Kevin Woodley at 604-828-5842.