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Sad News – Tribute to Former Canadian Road Champ René Cyr (1921-2015)

by John Symon

February 18, 2015 (St-Jerome, QC) – Former Canadian road champ René Cyr passed away over the weekend in his 94th year. According to his inscription at the FQSC Hall of Fame, Cyr won 47 victories from 1936 to 1940 among amateurs. He was the Canadian 50-mile ITT Champion from 1937 to 1940; also winning the Canadian 100-mile title in 1938 and 100-km title in 1940. He won the Montreal-St-Jérôme race from 1937 to 1940, and Montreal-Lachute competition in 1937.

Rene Cyr at Mardis Cyclistes  ©  Pasquale Stalteri

On the track, he won five Six-day competitions and one amateur meet in Delhi (Ontario) in 1939. His other Six-Day victories were competing against professionals in Montreal in 1941 and 1955 and in Chicago and Buffalo in 1949.

From 1941 to 1945 he was in semi-retirement because of World War II. He continued his professional career until 1957 totalling 11 years in the pros. Finally, he was Sports Director of the Montreal Olympic velodrome from 1976 to 1982.

Rene Cyr with Jean-Francois Laroche at Les Mardis Cyclistes  ©  Pasquale Stalteri

Cyr also competed at many track events as the part of the Montreal Canadiens cycling team during a time when the club had both hockey and cycling teams according to Le Devoir. He also rode for the Quilicot club according to Six- Day Racing.ca. The Quilicot club was named after the Montreal bike store that is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2015.

Archived documents show that Cyr often competed in track events with teammate William “Torchy” Peden (1906-1980), a world champion and considered one of the finest cyclists Canada ever produced.

Rene Cyr at the 2011 FQSC Annual Awards  ©  John Symon

In his later years, Cyr was critical of the demolition of Montreal’s Olympic velodrome in the early 1990s, recalling that it was bicycling and boxing events which animated the Montreal Forum (now the Pepsi Forum) in the 1930s. This reporter had the honour of dining with Cyr in the VIP tent at Les Mardis Cyclistes back in 2011 and found him in to be in great shape.

Pedal joins the cycling community in expresses condolences to Cyr’s family and friends.

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