If you feel the need, the need for speed, then hit the streets of Vancouver on Wednesday, July 12 for the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix.
North America’s top professional cyclists will race wheel-to-wheel, tackling Canada’s most famous annual criterium bike race – and you’re invited to line the route for free.
The thrilling, multi-lap 1.2 km course starts and finishes next to the steam clock. From the steam clock, riders head up Water Street, around the infamous hairpin turn at Cordova Street, around the Gassy Jack statue and back up Water Street.
The race is a chance to watch world-class athletes do something we all do – riding a bike – at incredibly fast speeds, bumping elbows and shoulders, with their wheels just inches from each other.
With riders flying by at 50 km/h, spectators can also expect a few crashes.
The women’s race is 35 laps, or 42 km, while the men’s race is 50 laps or 60 km. The action starts at 5:30 pm with the youth race.
The Gastown Grand Prix is part of BC Superweek, Canada’s biggest professional cycling series, which features more than $125,000 in prize money in eight races over 10 days.
Running from July 7 to 16, Superweek also features the Tour de Delta, Giro di Burnaby, PoCo Grand Prix, and Tour de White Rock.
Of course, Gastown’s unique race is famous for its bricks, cobblestones, signature hairpin turn, and historic downtown setting. It also has the largest prizes of any criterium in North America, with $50,000 up for grabs in total.
Since 2012, the race has also been sponsored and operated by Global Relay, a tech company in Gastown that has invested $2 million in the race over 10 years.
First held in 1973, the race now attracts the world’s top cyclists, and has been won by riders from Canada, the US, Australia, Italy, New Zealand, Germany and Sweden.
Former Canadian Olympian Ron Hayman, former national champion Gina Grain and fellow former Canadian champion Verna Buhler are tied for most victories with three wins each.
Where: Start/finish line next to Gastown’s steam clock. Spectators can line the route along Water, Cordova, and Carrall streets.
When: Wednesday, July 12
Time: Youth race at 5:30 pm, opening ceremonies at 5:55 pm, women’s race at 6:15 pm, men’s race at 7:30 pm.