Grand Prix Cycliste Montreal - (Montreal Part Trois)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

As I mentioned in my last post, after grabbing some amazing bagels and delicious French pastries I headed toward the UCI Pro Tour race in Montreal, the Grand Prix Cyclsite Montreal. When I arrived the were still putting the finishing touches on setting up the course and vendors were setting up booths near the Start/Finish.

Everyone figuring out there places.

We rode down this rode down this road the day prior on the Montreal Cycle tour, pretty high hill coming the other direction.

A shot of the finishing straight.

Spider tech was handing out free T-shirts and Cow-Bells. I didn't score a T but I did pick up a bell.

Thule and Specialized booth's.

I scouted out a good spot to watch the pros sign in and camped for about half an hour until the first team arrived. Up first was the Canadian National team which was an extra in addition to the normal 18 Pro Tour teams. I took over 300 pictures throughout the day, so I set up a Picasa album to play through them all.

I did decide to pick a couple of my favorites out though. It was real neat to see all the pros up close and see how huge some of them were and how really really tiny most of them were.

George Hincapie given' the crowd a wave, reping the stars and stripes for BMC.

Ryder Hesjedal the local favorite, went on to take 2nd for the race.

The Shack.

Robert Gesink who went on to win the race.

After the last of the pros signed in I headed over to the start line where the crowds began to gather, as did the riders for the start. I got some cool shots of the pros beginning to line up and the guys in front of me struck up a conversation with the Spanish national champ, Iván Gutiérrez.

The crowds near the start. To the right out of the photo is a huge television I watched the first lap on.

The Shack secured a place right up front.

It seemed like this time was when the pros tried to catch up with friends from other teams and just kick it.

Hincapie looking real relaxed before the start.

Spanish national champ, Iván Gutiérrez. He said he didn't like their bikes, pretty but not good.

Finally the race got underway and man was did it look quick from the start with the Canadian national team getting their country some spotlight as the first attack of the day.

I decided this was a great time to grab enjoy my delicious French croissants while watching the race on the big screen.

Mobile TV display.

Me and 10,000 of my closest Canadian friends watching the race.

Almond et Chocolate croissant.

Field coming through the start/finish the 1st time around.

After watching the first lap on the screen and coming back through the start/finish I started up the hill and found a spot near the base where I watch the field go by for the first time. It was really incredible the past of the hill, with some extended sections of 12%. Overall the hill wasn't huge (764 ft.) and just over 2k long.

A little further up the hill I posted up on a concrete barrier and grabbed some more photos of the fields and a video as well. The crowds were great, super energetic and loud and of course partaking in adult beverages.

Beginning of the peloton.

Near the top there's a cool overlook where you get an awesome view of the city.

This is about 500m from the peak of the first climb, Mount Royale.

Flying down the back side of the hill.

I started making my way back down the hill in order to make my train to Quebec city that evening, but got to see the field go past me a few times while I hiked down.

At the base of the hill was a great vantage point of the field where you could watch from the same place and see the field go by twice.

Sweet shot of the field.

I grabbed a Bixi bike and on my way back to the hostel I stopped by the U-turn near the start/finish for a couple more photos.

The three leaders off the front.

The peloton a moving swarm.

Garmin and RadioShack team cars.

Overall it was an awesome experience to watch and see the pro's race. Look forward to seeing more races in the future.


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