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V̩lirium 2005 РPreview

June 10, 2005 (Quebec City, QC) РThe biggest mountain biking event in Canada is back at Mont-Sainte-Anne this June 11 to 26. Three weekends in all, starting with the Canadian Championships and ending with the World Cup, with the Quebec Cup, UCI Marathon and V̩lo Mag Raid interspersed between the two. A true adrenaline rush for mountain bike fans of all stripes!

“Whether you’re a serious competitor, a casual biker, or just a curious spectator, you’ll have a great time!” says Gestev vice president and director of operations Chantal Lachance.

Over the next three weeks, Vélirium will play host to more than 1,500 racers, including some 300 competing in the World Cup from 30-odd countries. The event will see 120 journalists converge on the competitions and more than 50 hours of TV coverage in Canada (Global, Xtreme Sports, RDS, and MusiquePlus) and 40 hours internationally. With a budget of some $1.2 million, Vélirium features four programming categories: international, national, and local competitions plus various festivities.

Opening Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12, 2005
Tim Horton’s Canadian Mountain Biking Championships

The Canadian Championships are open to all. They’re a great opportunity for athletes from across the region to test their mettle against the best racers in the country. One highlight will be the cross country event. Athens Olympic Games silver medalist Marie-Hélène Prémont (Rocky Mountain/Business Object) will defend her Canadian cross country title on Sunday, June 12. Other star performances are expected from sensations Alex Harvey and Raphaël Gagné, both category leaders, who will be defending their 2004 Athletes’ Gala titles of “Best Young Athlete” and “Best National Athlete” respectively.

Middle Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19, 2005
World Cup, UCI Marathon, Vélo Mag Raid and Apéro Raid
Tim Horton’s Canadian Championships and Quebec Cup Downhill

On Saturday, June 18, the 71 km Vélo Mag Raid and 95 km UCI Marathon will test the endurance of long distance cyclists. These intermediate and expert courses are for competitors seeking a personal challenge. Both races start from Place d’Youville, while the 32 km Apéro Raid will kick off from the church in Château-Richer. The 600 athletes expected to compete will finish at Mont-Sainte-Anne. As for the UCI Marathon, this increasingly popular mountain biking event””once a world series””is now an official World Cup event this year.

This year only, the downhill event on June 19 will count toward the Canadian Championship and the Quebec Cup. A name to watch is defending Canadian champ Mathieu Laurin (Devinci/Daredevil).

Grande Finale Weekend
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, June 24, 25, and 26, 2005
Quebec Cup and UCI Nissan Cross Country, 4-Cross and Downhill World Cup

Friday, June 24, marks the return of the Quebec Cup cross country race, a classic since the 1983 competitions at Mont-Sainte-Anne. Anyone from amateur to elite can register in any of 17 categories for competitors aged 10 to 90. Year in, year out, over 600 Quebec athletes join in the action.

The UCI Cross Country World Cup at Mont-Sainte-Anne has truly been a circuit mainstay since 1991 with its high quality course and easy access for spectators to cheer the racers on. Once again this year on Saturday, June 25, it will be a great opportunity for Quebec fans to see Marie-Hélène Prémont (Rocky Mountain/Business Object) in action as she strives anew to make the podium. She finished 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 3rd in the first four legs of the 2005 circuit.

The public is invited to bring banners and signs, paint their faces, dress up, and come cheer on the hometown favorite. Currently 2nd in world standings, she’ll be attempting to beat out rival Gunn-Rita Dahle of Norway. Irina Kalentieva of Russia and Sabine Spitz of Germany also bear watching. For the men’s race, Christoph Sauser of Switzerland, Julien Absalon of France and Marco Bui of Italy””the three leaders in the standings””are expected to be on hand. Among Canadians, look for Rolland Green, Raphaël Gagné, and Geoff Kabush to surprise.

Also be sure to be at the mountain on Saturday night, June 25, for another exciting event””the 4-cross””which will see four racers tear down a single course of bumps and turns. A real treat for thrill seekers!

And marking a grand finale, the World Cup downhill event””first held at Mont-Sainte-Anne in 1998″”is back on Sunday, June 26. The course starts at mountaintop, combining extreme speed with the need for extraordinary technical skill. It’s to downhill mountain biking what Kitzbuhel is to Alpine skiing””for kamikazes only! Watch the world’s best compete: Greg Minaar of South Africa, Samuel Hill of Australia, as well as Steve Peat of Great Britain.

Vélirium, more than just a cycling event!
More than just a high caliber competition, Vélirium is a family and social happening! Among the fun activities are friendly bike competitions for youngsters aged 4 to 9 (June 11 and 25), a runner’s challenge on June 19 on the World Cup cross country course (5 and 10 km), and clowns, face painting, and obstacle courses for the kids at the Vélifun family venue.

Vélirium will be celebrating the Saint-Jean-Baptiste holiday on Friday, June 24, at Mont-Sainte-Anne. From 8 p.m., DJs Tommie Sunshine of Brooklyn and Czech of Vancouver will be turning up the heat at the Bleu Nuit Party.

From June 24 to 26, the Interactive Zone will be welcoming over 100 exhibitors from a range of industries, including bicycles, clothing and jewelry, healthcare and nutrition, and electronic and computer goods. Extreme sports enthusiasts will love the X-treme Sports Zone with its BMX, trial, and skateboard demonstrations. And for relaxing, there will be a bar and lounge onsite, plus whirlpools, DJs, and an Internet café.

Vélirium was named International Event of the Year in Quebec at the Sports Quebec Gala and won the Mémoris Award for Event of the Year in the Quebec City region at the Athletes’ Gala.

For information: www.velirium.com

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