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Montreal Mayor Calls for Compromise Over Gilles Villeneuve Racetrack Controversy

by John Symon

June 12, 2009 (Montreal, QC) — The controversy over the closing the Gilles Villeneuve (GV) racetrack to performance cyclists has now involved Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay reports La Presse. Tremblay was quoted as saying, “We will find a compromise solution as soon as possible,” and reminding people that Montreal is a “bicycle-friendly city.”

The recent decision by authorities in Jean Drapeau Park to discourage performance cyclists quickly became a political hot potato. The 4.3km racetrack was built for F1 Grand Prix automobile races although the 2009 edition of the Grand Prix was cancelled and future F1 races are in doubt. Lacking a proper velodrome, Montreal performance cyclists often use the GV track for training. But park officials have now installed concrete barriers at strategic spots to prevent cyclists from gaining speed. Meanwhile an on-line petition denouncing the park decision is rapidly gaining speed with 3,400 signatures at press time. The Velo Quebec petition can be seen and signed at: www.velocgv.com/

A press release by the FQSC reminds cyclists that the Federation is actively involved in this matter and that negotiations are scheduled with park officials on Tuesday, June 16, also bringing in Velo Quebec, triathletes, and speed skaters. The FQSC requests that everyone keep their cool and do nothing that could upset these negotiations.

A peaceful protest of cyclists is called for at the Villeneuve racetrack at 6 pm today (Friday).

For the complete article in French here.

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