Three generations of Dal-Cin’s have been involved in Ottawa’s Preston Street Criterium which takes place annually on Father’s Day. It is the longest running cycling event in the Ottawa area celebrating 45 years in 2017. It was first run in 1972 by founders Alan Large and Peter Tyler. The Preston Street Criterium is part of the Italian Festival in Ottawa’s Little Italy.
Eugenio Dal-Cin was involved in organizing the event from 1974 to 1989. Eugenio’s son Carlo Dal-Cin had an organization role following his competitive racing career from 2004 to 2015. The cycling passion is strong in the family and 26-year-old Matteo Dal-Cin, Carlo’s son raced the event as a junior and elite racer and is now pursuing a professional cycling career with American UCI Continental team Rally Cycling.
“I remember going down and watching when it was a different course than it is now,” Dal-Cin said recalling his first memories of the criterium. “We use to go and watch a bunch of the guys my dad used to race with and he’d point them out. I must have been maybe five or six.”
Matteo recalls it being a chance at a young age to be introduced to cycling, which was not a sport that was widely available in terms of viewership in Canada. As he grew older, Carlo increasingly got involved in putting on the crit which brought a young Matteo into the fold as well.
“We would rent a big U-Haul truck and go down to the city to bring barriers to the course,” said Matteo. “I would help with the setup the day before. On the actual race day, I wasn’t volunteering, I was actually racing but I was helping out in the days leading up to it. I did that when I was 15 or 16 right up until the first year that I went to Beauce instead.”
Matteo twice won the Preston Street Criterium. He won as a second year junior and again in 2011 as a senior in the Cat 1/2 race while racing for Jet Fuel. It was the second win that really stood out as he took it solo from a breakaway. “It’s a pretty cool race. For a crit at the Ontario level, they have very generous prizes. They give the winner their weight in beer which is a novel prize,” Matteo said. “It definitely makes it memorable.”
When Matteo started racing at the UCI Tour de Beauce in 2013 he stopped being able to race at Preston. Carlo continued to work organizing the race until 2015 but now he too travels to Beauce to take in his son’s racing. Beauce is one of the better opportunities to watch Matteo race because it’s nearby and much more reasonable to travel to than many other of the locations Canadian professionals travel to race.
While no Dal-Cins will be racing or organizing Preston this Father’s Day, the race has played an important role in the family’s continued presence in the sport. “For me, it always had a special significance because my dad was helping to organize it. Whenever I got to race it was on Father’s Day, so it was a nice family get together,” Matteo explained. “Cycling is very important in our family. All of us actively ride, so it was a nice way to spend the day.”
The 2017 Preston Street Criterium will be held on June 18, and be the first round of the inaugural Ontario Cup Crit series. “It has an amazing heritage in Ottawa and the Italian community really supports it. With races sort of coming and going, it is really nice to see it as a staple on the calendar, year in and year out. It’s a really great event and has some longevity to it.”
On June 18, racing starts at 10 a.m. and will be wrapped up by 4 p.m. The elite women race at noon followed by a kids race. The elite men race at 2:15 p.m. For registration and more information visit bikeraceottawa.wordpress.com/preston-street-criterium/