November 15, 2012 (Delta, BC) – The international governing body of cycling, Union Cycliste International (UCI), officially welcomed the 2013 White Spot | Delta Road Race as a 1.2 UCI sanctioned event at a press conference on Thursday.
Tour de Delta organizers followed that by announcing White Spot has expanded its commitment to the annual road race in order to continue supporting its evolution and the growth of cycling in BC, while also boosting Canada’s chances to earn extra spots at future Olympics and World Championships.
The White Spot | Delta Road Race will be held on Sunday July 7, 2013.
“Hosting an international 1.2 UCI race will take Delta’s road race to a higher level and create much excitement and greater awareness in the sport of cycling in our community, as well as continue to offer local athletes the chance to compete against the best cyclists,” said Mayor Lois Jackson of the Corporation of Delta. “We are fortunate to have a very supportive community that appreciates the talent, hard work and commitment of the athletes and their passion for their sport. Over the years the Tour de Delta has built community pride and become a premier cycling event, and the quality has not gone unnoticed internationally.”
With international sanctioning and awarding of official UCI points, the road race will draw a deeper, stronger field of top professional cyclists from all over the world to the already well attended three-event Tour de Delta and the rest of the nine-race BC Superweek series to be held in July, 2013.
UCI officials attended and closely examined last year’s race before awarding the certification, making the Tour de Delta the first road race in Western Canada on the UCI’s America Tour Calendar.
“This will be the only road cycling race in BC to have international sanctioning,” said Race Director Mark Ernsting, adding he expects to see more members from all the top North American pro teams competing at the Continental and Pro Continental levels. “And cycling will be one of a few sports in the Lower Mainland with an annual international event for enthusiasts to look forward to.”
In addition to top professionals, Ernsting expects more national teams to take part in an effort to earn UCI points, which are used to determine the number of entries each country gets into events like the World Championships and Olympics. Canada is among those expected to field a team.
“For Canada it has significant implications,” said John Tolkamp, President of Cycling Canada. “Points our riders can now earn here, with home-field advantage, go a long way to us extra spots. I was at the London Olympics and we had one man at the start line. A race like this could give us two or three.
“The benefits also include a stronger field, opportunities to carry out sport development initiatives, and a race experience for Canadian and BC riders that contributes to their growth in the sport,” Tolkamp continued. “The addition of a UCI sanctioned road race in BC supports growth in Western Canada, increases the visibility to a young audience, and helps the development of high level athletes and teams by exposing them to the highest level.”
That last part was the goal of the Tour de Delta when it started in 2001. Since then several local riders have used strong showings at the Tour de Delta and other BC Superweek races to launch their professional cycling careers, earning contracts with top North American teams by impressing the managers and directors that come every year to compete and find new talent.
Having UCI status should take that exposure – and the competition level – up a notch.
“This will provide local teams – both athletes and Team Directors – the chance to experience what a UCI race entails,” Ernsting said. “This goes back to the reason why Delta wanted to get involved – to give locals the chance to grow in the sport so that they can go on to the next level of racing.”
Having yet another level at the Tour de Delta in 2013 should also provide carry-over benefit to the rest of BC Superweek, which is already coming off the high of having more than 20,000 spectators pack the streets of Gastown for last summer’s return of the prestigious Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix.
Add in the continued success of the UBC Grand Prix presented by Mahony & Sons; the Giro di Burnaby presented by Appia Construction, Embassy Construction, & Palladio Jewellers; and the historic Tour de White Rock presented by Haywood Securities and it figures to be a great 10 days of top professional cycling in the lower mainland when BC Superweek returns for 2013.