Dozens of cyclists from across Atlantic Canada and Ontario are expected to compete this weekend at the fifth annual Cape Breton Classic Bicycle Race in the Sydney area.
Hosted again by Framework Racing Society, the triple stage Cape Breton Classic will include Saturday’s Steel Centre Time Trial at 1pm on Coxheath Road, followed by the Sysco Crit at 4pm at the Steelmen’s Memorial Park and concluding Sunday, with a long road race that starts 9am in the George’s River area.
“The fastest cyclists in this province and elsewhere see our race as one of the biggest and most challenging in Atlantic Canada,” said Bill Goldston, president of Framework Racing Society. “The most spectator-friendly event of the three races will take place in the heart of Sydney around the Steelmen’s Memorial Park site on the remediated Sydney Steel site late Saturday afternoon at 4. Racers will go wheel to wheel, elbow to elbow, jockeying for points and cash prizes as the fastest who completes up to 25 laps of the 1 km block. It’s like watching a horse race except you cheer for the fastest men, women and youth pedaling on two wheels. Spectators will see these top athletes reach speeds in excess of 40 km/hour.”
Last year, a course record was set around the Sysco Crit by Denis Cottreau of Yarmouth who won with a time of 41 minutes 33 seconds and an average speed of 39.7 km/hour. He will be returning this year to defend his stage win with O’Regan’s Subaru who are challenging with nine other top cyclists.
The Cape Breton Classic is the only official bike race on Cape Breton Island sanctioned by the governing body – Bicycle Nova Scotia. It is a UCI sanctioned race open to all cyclists in Canada from the semi-pros to amateur riders – and for all ages of men, women and youth.
Framework Racing team members will be the only team officially defending Cape Breton’s turf in the race including captain Ambrose Delaney of Sydney, Justin Hines of Millcreek, Marc Larade of Petit Etang, Chrissy Smith of Glace Bay, Kilya MacNeil of Bay St Lawrence, Daniel Murray of Dingwall, Jeff Muise of Yarmouth and defending women’s champ Tammy Slauenwhite of Rose Bay. These are some of the top racers in the province for their age and respective divisions and are expected to place among the top ranking cyclists.
All racers must compete in three stages and their time in each race will be combined by the end of Sunday’s long race in and around Barrachois Mountain, awarding the overall CB Classic division winners as well as the three stage event winners with either cash or trophies or a combination of both. Cyclists compete in several age/sex divisions including Category A (considered the toughest in the Bicycle Nova Scotia race circuit) as well as B, C, D, F and Youth divisions.
Category A cyclists complete the longest overall in the two day race. They will complete the same distance in the Steel Centre Time Trial as other divisions, but must do extra laps at the Sysco Crit (25 laps approximately 25 km) and five loops up and around the steep Barrachois Mountain – a distance of 120 km. Last year’s division champ Cory Jay of Prince Edward Island will return to defend his Category A win. Framework’s Jeff Muise placed third in Category A last year while Kilya MacNeil and Chrissy Smith, placed second and third respectively in the Youth division.
This year’s race has received funding and support from several government agencies as a way to enhance summer and sport related tourism activity on Cape Breton Island including from the federal Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s Recreation Department, Destination Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Lands, Steel Centre Credit Union, Dignity Memorial and Framework Cycle & Fitness. Cape Breton Regional Police will assist with traffic in and around George’s River and Barrachois Mountain on Sunday’s long race expected to take over three hours for some.
Motorized traffic is requested to take extra caution and be on the watch for cyclists who will be on Coxheath Road from the Blackett’s Lake intersection to the Gillis Lake Road intersection late Saturday morning to mid-day Saturday as well as on Sunday in and around George’s River, Long Island Road and Barrachois Mountain road. Cape Breton Regional Police will be on scene to assist with traffic control. Motorized access to the Steelmen’s Memorial Park on Saturday will be denied starting 3pm Saturday afternoon until approximately 6pm Saturday.