May 17, 2016 (Vancouver, BC) – After reviving the Gastown Grand Prix with a five-year, million-dollar commitment in 2012 and transforming it into the richest criterium in North America – and the only one in Canada with official international UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) status – Global Relay is pleased to announce that it is renewing its title sponsorship of the race for an additional five years from 2017 to 2021.
Global Relay is a world leader in cloud-based electronic message archiving. From 2002 to 2008, the Gastown Grand Prix operated on a course that circled Global Relay’s international headquarters in Gastown. After no title sponsor could be found for 2009-2011, Global Relay stepped in to resurrect the race as title sponsor. In addition to committing one million dollars to support BC’s most famous race, the company mobilized its talented workforce to take over the race organization.
With Mark Ernsting of M1 Sports Management as race director, the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix has become synonymous with exciting racing, flawless execution, excellent treatment of athletes, and the biggest prizes of any criterium in North America.
“Our goal as title sponsor of the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix is not only to consistently host a world-class event, but also to elevate the race with each successive sponsorship year,” said Warren Roy, Global Relay’s CEO. “This year, the Grand Prix has been granted official international UCI status and continues to enjoy a reputation as a ‘must-attend’ event on the North American racing calendar.
“The race also provides our employees with a unique and exciting team-building experience through which they can work together and contribute to the community. Just as importantly, our support of Canadian cycling at the national level has already led to greater participation in the sport and helped pave the way for impressive results by Canadian riders at professional, Olympic, and World Championship events.”
The first Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix in 2012 gave Roy and the Global Relay team an in-depth look at the tremendous work and dedication required to become a professional cyclist, and the sacrifices young athletes make to get to that level. Following discussions with Canadian professional cyclists Svein Tuft, Andrew Pinfold, Will Routley, Ryan Anderson and Erinne Willock about how they could help talented cyclists make the leap to the pro ranks, Global Relay invested an additional $400,000 to create the Global Relay Bridge the Gap Fund, a funding and mentorship program. This program currently supports 24 riders, with program graduates like two-time Gastown GP winner Leah Kirchmann now riding as a consistent top-10 finisher on the women’s pro World Tour.
In June 2014, Global Relay invested even further in Canadian cycling when it joined forces with Cycling Canada Cyclisme, the national sport governing body. Global Relay committed to a four-year $500,000 partnership focused on sponsorship of the Canadian National Teams and the Canadian Road Cycling Championships.
“It would be hard to overstate the positive impact Global Relay has had on our sport and on nurturing Canadian cycling talent over the past few years,” said John Tolkamp, president of Cycling Canada Cyclisme. “Our goal is for Canada to become one of the world’s top cycling nations by 2020. As an organization, setting such ambitious goals and working towards them is only possible thanks to sponsors like Global Relay, who are the lifeblood of amateur sport in Canada.”
The 2016 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix on Wednesday, July 13th will be the 33rd running of the race on Gastown’s cobblestone streets. Well-known as the epicentre of independent design, culture, food and fashion, Vancouver’s hippest and most historic neighbourhood actually hosted its first bike race in 1898, with a two-man event raced on the high-wheel penny-farthing bikes.
“We pride ourselves on delivering one-of-a-kind experiences to visitors and locals alike,” said Jordan Stewart, president of the Gastown Business Improvement Society and owner of Chill Winston bistro, which overlooks the final turn before the finish straight. “Gastown merchants have supported the Gastown Grand Prix financially and in many other ways since it began in 1973.
“We’re delighted that Global Relay has stepped up to renew their title sponsorship for another five years. In addition to demonstrating a deep commitment to supporting their local community, this Gastown-based company has grown to become a world leader in the tech sector. They represent the diversity, creativity, innovation and optimistic outlook that makes Gastown such an exciting place to live and work.”