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Mardis Cyclistes Launches Today – Record Field Expected

June 16, 2008 (Montreal, QC) – Tuesday evening’s Les Mardis cyclistes de Lachine criterium race will have a 140 to 150 riders – a record number of participants – to kick off its 31st year predicts organizer, Joseph “˜Tino’ Rossi. Tour de Beauce victor, Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) will be there, along with team mate, Cam Evans. Dominique Rollin (Toyota United) will also be on the start line to defend his 2005 record of 59:57 on the 50km course around the streets of Lachine.

Anyone who can best Rollin’s time will win a prize of $1,000. Brazilian phenom Kleber Ramos (Garneau Crocs) will be among those trying his luck tomorrow, as will Steve Bauer’s Team RACE Pro. The Columbian national team will also be mixing it up in the senior men’s race.

Rossi, who has been organizing the event since he first drew a chalk start line there in 1978, also announced that he has finally found a replacement. Marc-Wayne Addison (formerly the coach with Calyon, click here, will serve as Rossi’s right hand man for the 10-race series in 2008, move up to technical director in 2009, and finally take over the Mardis Cyclistes reigns in 2010.

But Rossi revealed to Pedal that he is not retiring from the local cycling scene where he has been prominent since the 1976 Olympics. Instead, he will be taking on a new project: lobbying for a velodrome in the Montreal area. Rossi revealed that he has already had favourable discussions with many key players in such a project. This includes: Gerald Tremblay, Mayor of Montreal; Saputo his title sponsor for the Mardis Cyclistes senior men’s event; and Louis Barbeau, director general of the FQSC.

“If we host a Canada Games event at the site, the Canadian government should pay 70% of the construction costs. We are looking at an outdoor velodrome, possibly behind the Dalbé-Viau High School and vocational institute in Lachine. It is too early to talk about a finish date, however,” explains Rossi.

An indoor velodrome was built in Montreal for the 1976 Olympics, but the building was converted into an indoor zoo in the early 1990s. At present, there is only one other velodrome in the province in Bromont.

Tuesday’s program starts at LaSalle Park in Lachine with the 16km minime Hop & Go race at 5:30 p.m., followed by the 24km Lait’s Go (male) and Shape (female) cadet races at 6:10 p.m., followed by the 50km men’s Saputo Pro Elite Cup at 6:50 p.m.

The 10-race series continues every Tuesday evening until August 17, weather permitting. The races are free for spectators. Rossi’s main concern for tomorrow evening, given the large number of contestants, is that there will be no crashes.

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