PoCo Grand Prix, Superweek races cancelled

The event, scheduled for July 17, also included a day-long festival of live entertainment, food, a beer garden and merchants show at Leigh Square and next to city hall.

Professional bike racers won’t be speeding around downtown Port Coquitlam July 17.

The PoCo Grand Prix, as well as eight other races that comprise BC Superweek, has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Series director Mark Ernsting said with no end to the public health crisis in sight, the safety of racers, volunteers and spectators takes precedence.

“We must act responsibly to protect the may people who come together for BC Superweek from being at risk,” he said Monday in a press release.

Port Coquitlam mayor Brad West said the cancellation of the race wasn’t an easy decision.

“The PoCo Grand Prix is a key part of building community,” he said in an email to sponsors and supporters. He added the cancellation will make it easier for businesses to their sponsorship money back into their enterprise at this difficult time.

The PoCo race became part of Superweek in 2016. The event attracted many of the top male and female professional cyclists from across North America as well as other parts of the world. It also featured competitions for local amateur racers, a special kids race and even a corporate challenge. A day-long festival of live entertainment, food, beer garden and merchants’ fair attracted thousands of people to the downtown core and Leigh Square next to city hall, even if many didn’t know the difference between a peloton and echelon.

Two years ago the pro races were moved to the twilight hours, to the great acclaim of the riders. Dutch racer Nina Kessler won last year’s women’s event, while Campbell Stewart of New Zealand was first across the finish line in the men’s race.

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