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Mardis Cyclistes to Receive Substantial Funding from Montreal – Celebrates 40th Anniversary in 2017

by John Symon

April 26, 2016 (Montreal, QC) – The Mardis Cyclistes criterium series, based in the Montreal borough of Lachine, will receive substantial financial support from the city of Montreal according to Lachine Mayor Claude Dauphin. “For 2016, the support from Montreal could be more important than private sponsorships for the Mardis. It has not been officially announced yet, but it’s a done deal,” Dauphin told Pedal.

(l-r) Michel Gaudette (LaSalle Autogroupe), Claude Dauphin (Lachine Mayor), Tino Rossi (Mardis Cycliste), Denis Coderre (Montreal Mayor)  ©  John Symon

Over the years, the race organization has relied largely on title sponsorships from private companies such as Carling O’Keefe (breweries), Saputo (dairies), Jean Coutu Group (pharmacies), and most recently Canadian National Railway. The Mardis Cyclistes celebrates its 40th season in 2017, the same year that Montreal celebrates its 375th anniversary and Canada celebrates its 150th.

At the April 11 Lachine borough (Montreal) council meeting, independent city councillor Jean-François Cloutier failed in his attempt to oblige the Mardis Cyclistes bike race series organizers to open their books. Lachine has a long tradition of providing financial support ($10,000 in 2016) and logistical support to the non-profit Cyclo-Club de Lachine, organizers of the Mardis Cyclistes.

Laroche scores a hat-trick Mardis win in 2012...  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Jean-Francois Laroche  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
“I still support the Mardis Cyclistes, but adding more money from taxpayers should be supported by a budget and financial statements from the Cyclo-Club,” Cloutier explained to Pedal. “The Cyclo-Club, which is receiving substantial sponsorships (more than $75,000 per year) from companies, has the burden of proof when it is asking for more money.”

“Our [municipal] services estimate that logistical support [provided to the Mardis is worth] at least $150,000 and it’s all coming from the Lachine budget… and this excludes police and Urgences Santé [ambulance] services.”

Cloutier was elected with Mayor Claude Dauphin’s party in 2013, but now sits as an independent. He was unable to persuade any of his four colleagues on Lachine council – all members of Team Dauphin – to vote with him. Thus his motion to force the Mardis to open their books was defeated.

Louis Garneau racing at the Mardis Lachine series on June 18  ©  Pasquale Stalteri

Dauphin suggests that, “Cloutier is not right on this one. Neither Montreal not Lachine will provide financial support to the Mardis Cyclistes without the kind of financial information that Cloutier was demanding.”

“The Mardis is an international event here in Lachine. We are very proud; it is the best school for bicycle racing in Canada,” added Dauphin.

Bauer and Rossi  ©  John Symon

Joseph “Tino” Rossi, 76, is the man behind the Cyclo-Club de Lachine. He founded the Mardis series in 1978 and still presides over it today. Through the years, many of Canada’s greatest road cyclists have raced there including Steve Bauer; Louis Garneau; Pierre Harvey; Claude Langlois; Jocelyn Lovell; Gord Singleton; Alex Stieda; Dom Rollin; David Veilleux; Antoine Duchesne; Rémi Pelletier-Roy, etc. The 2015 champion among the senior men was Australian Jason Lowndes (Garneau Québecor).

The 39th season of the Mardis Cyclistes starts June 9, 2016 in Lachine’s Lasalle Park; the grand finale of the 10 stage series is Aug. 18. For more information visit here.

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