In early July, more than 200 professional cyclists from around the world will converge on Delta for the start of Canada’s biggest professional road cycling series.
BC Superweek, a 10-day cycling series that features more than $140,000 in prize money, kicks off with the Tour de Delta July 6-8.
The $25,000 Tour de Delta features three races over three days: the North Delta Criterium on July 6, the Ladner Criterium on July 7 and the White Spot | Delta Road Race in Tsawwassen on July 8.
The North Delta Criterium kicks things off at with a kids’ race starting at 5:45 p.m. at Richardson Elementary. Less than an hour later, the women’s and men’s professional races gets underway in front of the North Delta Public Safety Building. Each race will feature 70 loops around North Delta’s social heart, with a fast downhill section that will see riders reach speeds of over 70 km/hr.
Last year saw increased participation from the community, a trend the Tour de Delta committee is hoping to continue this year.
During and after the North Delta races is a community festival at Richardson Elementary that will feature interactive sport activity booths, entertainers, food trucks and a live screening of the race. Last year was a huge hit, Tour de Delta board chair Cam Mitcher said during council on Monday, June 25, and they expect even more vendors to be part of it this year.
The Ladner Criterium on Saturday will also include kids’ races and professional races, as well as a youth race for riders aged 12-15. The kids races will start at 3:45 p.m. at “crash corner,” the intersection of Chrisholm and Delta Streets. Professional races begin at 5:10 p.m.
A new race for kids under six is also debuting this year on Saturday in Ladner.
“They’re just going to go for it,” Mitchner said. “It’s a great way to start off the races this year.”
Perhaps the most enticing of the professional races will be Tsawwassen’s White Spot | Delta Road Race, taking place at 9:30 a.m. for the women, and at 1 p.m. for the men.
“This race is a destination race for people now,” Mitchner said. “It’s just a fantastic level of athleticism here now.”
Formerly the culminative event in the Tour de Delta series, the White Spot | Delta Road Race is now an International Cycling Union (UCI) event. Racers from around the world will go compete for points to improve their chances of attending international competitions like the World Championships and the Olympics.
“The White Spot | Delta Road Race is an incredible chance to see teams and cyclists who have come from all over Canada, the United States and around the world to compete,” said BC Superweek Series Director Mark Ernsting in a release.
“It’s the only UCI-certified road race in British Columbia and we’re thrilled to have it as part of the Tour de Delta and BC Superweek.”
The Tsawwassen kids’ race will take place after the road race, while the South Delta community festival will go on throughout the day. The festival, taking place at Dennison Park across from South Delta Secondary, will feature many of the same activities showcased at the North Delta festival, including food vendors, interactive sport booths, entertainers and a live screening of the race.
“Really, this is about community engagement,” Mitchner said. “As people trickle in, we have more and more for them to do this year.”
For more information, and to register for the kids’ races, visit tourdedelta.ca.