The route of Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau, the women’s UCI 1.1 road race, will include a 36.7-km run into Gatineau Park, just northwest of Ottawa. The past two editions of the race have only skirted the southern part of the park. In 2015, riders will get more climbing, about 560 m more, because of the addition of what organizers are calling the north section. The route of previous years, the south section, will return this year. It will feature the opening 2 km as riders head north. Later, elite women cyclists will complete six laps on the 8.3-km southern circuit. After the road race on June 4, the competition for the women will continue the next day with the 14-km time trial.
Top international teams that have confirmed that they will participate this year include Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, Velocio-SRAM, UnitedHealthcare, Tibco and DNA Cycling presented by K4. Those squads could bring a number of Canadians. Optum’s Jasmin Glaesser, who rode for Tibco last year, was third in the 2014 road race. Her teammates include Lex Albrecht, Annie Ewart and national champion Leah Kirchmann. Velocio-SRAM features Karol-Ann Canuel. Laura Brown is new to UnitedHealthcare this season. Alizée Brien and Anika Todd ride for Tibco. Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin, who won the young rider’s white jersey at the Tour of New Zealand, and Joanie Caron are on DNA K4. Other international squads that have confirmed include Hitec Products (Norway), Astana-Acca Due O (Kazakhstan) and Bepink Laclasica (Italy).
A host of Canadian teams will be there. Trek Red Truck, for which 2014 Gatineau road race winner Denise Ramsden rides, has confirmed. West Quebec Wheelers, Selection Region Capitale Nationale, SAS Mazda Macogep Specialized, Stan No Tubes Endurance Werx, Rise Racing presented by Cyclepath Woodbridge, Team NCCH, Equipe du Québec, The Cyclery and Holiday Inn Calgary/P-K Express Zimmer Capital presented by Foundation are on the list.
This year, the event will feature a new national men’s race recognized by Cycling Canada. The men will ride the south-section route on June 6. Also on that day, the Coupe Québec Cuisses Or de l’Outaouais, a youth event part of the Fédération québécoise des sports cyclistes series, will start. Young riders will face off in a road race. The next day, they will have three events: a sprint competition, a skills competition and a criterium.
Of all the routes, amateur riders have the most picturesque one. The gran (118.8 km) and medio (69.3 km) fondos are held mostly on closed roads within Gatineau Park. More than 500 participats are expected this year.