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36th Annual Mardis Cyclistes Press Conference 2013 Launch – Report, Photos, Interviews

by John Symon

May 31, 2013 (Lachine, QC) – The most famous criterium series in Quebec, if not in Canada, the Mardis Cyclistes powered by Jean Coutu, is gearing up for its 36th season in 2013. Founder and president Joseph “Tino” Rossi, 73, was in fine form during a press conference held on May 30.

Among those attending the conference were: the FQSC’s Director General Louis Barbeau; Mardis defending champion Jean-François Laroche; former champion Martin Gilbert; Lachine Mayor Claude Dauphin; Eric Laurence VP, Logistics and Distribution at Jean Coutu Group; Jean-Pierre Chalifoux (Chalifoux Dairy/Fromages Riviera); former Montreal Canadien hockey player, Yvon Lambert; and many more.

The Mardis series has a new honorary president in Robert Piché, a local resident and airline pilot who made headlines around the world in 2001, safely landing an Airbus A330 with 306 passengers aboard after the plane lost all power over the mid-Atlantic.

Dauphin underlined how Lachine is always ready to support the Mardis series and bragged that bike paths on Lachine’s lakefront were called the “third most beautiful in the world” by Time Magazine (there is some poetic licence in Dauphin’s claim). Lachine has plans to expropriate other properties on its lakeshore to make the bike paths there safer and more beautiful. Dauphin also mentioned how Eric Laurence, who was there representing title sponsor, Jean Coutu, is an Ironman. “No, I don’t mean he irons shirts,” quipped Dauphin.

Barbeau related how he was talking about the Mardis Cyclistes series is well know as he chatted with a New Zealand rider about it while down in North Carolina recently. He noted that defending champion Laroche is trying for his sixth annual title at the Mardis series, a feat only ever once achieved before (by Yannick Cojan between 1986-1999). He also noted that many Quebec cyclists who got their start at the Mardis crits are now riding on the WorldTour circuit. Barbeau named Dominique Rollin (FDJ) who just finished 75th overall at the 2013 Giro. He also named Guillaume Boivin (Cannondale), Hugo Houle (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Francois Parisien (Team Argos-Shimano), David Veilleux (Europcar), and Martin Gilbert (SpiderTech but now retired).

Tino Rossi

Louis Barbeau

Jean-Francois Laroche

For more info on the Mardis Cyclistes click HERE.

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