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Quebec Cycling Hall of Fame Inducts Arsenault, Hughes, Van Den Eynde, Rover and Gariepy + PHOTOS

by John Symon
(l-r) Clara Hughes, Erik Van Den Eynde, Annie Gariépy, Steve Rover  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
November 22, 2016 (Bromont, QC) – This past weekend featured the who’s who of Quebec cycling with the 30th anniversary of the FQSC Hall of Fame inductions held on Saturday followed by the 2016 Merite Awards on Sunday for a blockbuster weekend.

Martin Gilbert with Eric Van den Eynde  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
The venue was the Hôtel Château Bromont as the FQSC (Quebec cycling federation) inducted five cycling greats into its Temple de la Renommée (Hall of Fame). The inductees include three cyclists: Clara Hughes, Steve Rover, and Annie Gariépy along with two builders including event organizer Serge Arsenault and long-time coach Erik Van Den Eynde.

Temple de la Renommée (Hall of Fame)  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Cycling Hall of Famer Gaston Langlois with his wife Jeanine Meunier  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Dany Deslongchamps  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Among the distinguished guests were Jacques Landry, Czeslaw Lukaszewicz, Ivan Waddell, Lyne Bessette, Martin Gilbert, Dany Delongchamps, former Hall of Famer Gaston Langlois and top riders like Karol-Anne Canuel, Joelle Numainville, Hugo Barrette, Kirsti Lay many others as FQSC Director General, Louis Barbeau, himself was honoured for his years of service to the sport and the federation.

Clara Hughes with Czezlaw Lukaszewicz and his wife  ©  Pasquale Staleri
FQSC's Louis Barbeau  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
“This year was the 30th anniversary of the FQSC Hall of Fame,” Barbeau told Pedal. “On this special occasion nstead of inducting new members during our annual brunch for the Merite cycliste Quebecois, we hosted a fabulous banquet for 150 people on the evening before (Saturday) and inducted five new members instead of three as usual.”

Event organizer Serge Arsenault  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
First up was Arsenault who is renowned in the province and has been organizing the Grands Prix Cyclistes Québec City et Montréal since 2010 – the first and only UCI WorldTour races awarded to North or South America. The former journalist-turned-businessman also organized the Grand Prix des Amériques, a road World Cup event in Montréal from 1988 to 1992. The first Montreal Marathon in 1979 is another of Arsenault’s accomplishments and he was also quite involved with athletics.

“I give my regards to all the athletes, event organizers, clubs, and volunteers honored by (this weekend by the FQSC). Together we contribute in our own way toward advancing (cycling) and will continue to do so to take things to a higher level,” said Arsenault. The popular organizer of the biggest road cycling events in the country suggested that those governing the sport across the country needed to embrace all factions of cycling more equitably.

Clara Hughes  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Legendary Clara Hughes, who was also a speed skater, amassed some 35 national titles between the two sports over her career and is also the only athlete worldwide to have won multiple medals in both the summer and winter Olympics. Originally from Winnipeg, Hughes signed her first team contract with Specialized-Pedal and moved to Ontario in 1991 and then to Quebec in 1999. She effusively thanked many who have helped her during her stellar career making special mention of fellow inductee and  former coach as well, Erik Van Den Eynde. “He saved my life,” said Hughes.

Erik Van Den Eynde  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Van Den Eynde is one of the most respected and renowned coaches in the province and the across Canada. It was an emotional day for the humble coach who began his career back in 1985. Among those he thanked in particular were were his brother Robert, together with para-cyclists Patrice Bonneau, Gary Longhi and Shelly Gautier. “Gary really changed my life and got me hooked on para-cycling during the time I coached him for the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta,” said the Belgian-born Van Den Eynde.

Barbeau added that Van Den Eynde is not only a great coach, but that he changed the lives of many of the athletes he worked with. Speaking to Pedal afterward, Van Den Eynde refuted the notion that he was retiring from coaching, saying he was continuing, but prefers to continue as a consultant so as to avoid much of the paperwork associated with of the job.

Annie Gariépy  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
In 1997 Rover was one of the first cyclists from Quebec to turn pro in Europe, signing with the Mutuelle de Seine et Marne. He finished 4th at the Tour de l’Avenir in 1996, then returned to cycling as a tandem pilot for the Paralympic Games in Athens in 1996. Annie Gariépy, a road and track cyclist, medaled in almost every National Championships she participated in during her career from 1991 to 2001. She also put together a women’s cycling team in 1997 at age 21, team Elita, which became one of the best teams in North America.

(l-r) Sébastien Arsenault, Louis Barbeau, André Michaud  ©  Pasquale Stalteri

“We are very proud to induct these five new members who have made their mark either as athletes or builders throughout their careers,” concluded Barbeau. The next day saw the annual Mérite Québécois awards of distinction, also at the Château Bromont.

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