No third cycling Grand Prix in Quebec

After several years of efforts, the organization of the Grands Prix cyclists of Quebec and Montreal (GPCQM) abandoned the project of holding a third WorldTour classic.


Posted at 1:45 a.m.

Updated at 6:00 a.m.

Estrie, Gatineau, Charlevoix, the Quebec region, Ontario, even the northeast of the United States: since the birth of the GPCQM in 2010, its promoters have dreamed of a sister event that would consolidate the achievements and would increase the appeal of Canadian racing.

It would have been great, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the funding. At the moment there is nothing. I put a stop to that.

Sébastien Arsenault, CEO of GPCQM, during a recent interview

The idea was to trace a less hilly route which would have been favorable to the sprinters. The one-day classic, independent of the other two, would have taken place within a radius accessible by coach from Montreal and Quebec, a few days apart, therefore in September.

Continuing the steps taken by his father Serge, whom he succeeded, Mr. Arsenault obtained in 2021 the promise of a third WorldTour license from the president and general director of the International Cycling Union (UCI).

“We are not the only ones who want to have WorldTour races on the planet,” argued the organizer. We cannot put [une licence] waiting indefinitely. I released that option, if I may say so. »

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PHOTO DOMINICK GRAVEL, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Sébastien Arsenault, CEO of the Quebec and Montreal Cycling Grands Prix

The project was shelved after a final attempt to find public backers last year. Due to a lack of ticketing, with the exception of a VIP section, Mr. Arsenault reiterates that the NPO represented by the GPCQM, whose budget is around 7 million, is dependent on government subsidies.

“There was great will from everyone, but at a certain point, it all comes down to financial will. »

As with the Copley Group World Triathlon, private sponsors are rare, recalls the CEO. Last year, the French equipment manufacturer Ekoï became an official partner until 2025.

Expenses are increasing dramatically and the only sponsors we can find are often European. I imagine they see the quality of our event in terms of television broadcasting. It’s very difficult to look for sponsors here in Quebec.

Sébastien Arsenault

Furthermore, Arsenault learned that the SPVM would no longer assume the costs related to securing the Montreal route for its bikers, which it had been doing since 2010.

“Technically, if we use their services, we will receive an invoice for the police officers who protect our circuit with their motorcycles. Somehow, I understand them. Expenses are increasing everywhere and the City must make difficult decisions. For our part, we say to ourselves: what will the next tile be? »

In order to reduce their costs, the GPCQM will not hold the Critérium national de Montréal, an event presented the day before the Grand Prix and intended for some 200 emerging and master riders.

Like his triathlon counterpart, Patrice Brunet, Arsenault maintains that his races provide global visibility to cities and inspire people to practice sports.

“The arts have an excessively powerful lobby,” he notes. It’s fun, arts and culture, it’s essential, but it seems that sport, especially us who don’t sell tickets, are often put in the same basket as other major events which enjoy ticketing revenue. »

The GPCQM teams are also leading the Beneva Montreal Marathon and the UCI Road Cycling World Championships which will take place in the metropolis in 2026.

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