The New West Grand Prix won’t be taking to the streets of downtown New Westminster in 2022.
BC Superweek has announced its members have made the difficult decision to put the professional cycling series on hiatus until 2023.
“The events that make up BC Superweek require significant planning and resources, and as communities continue to navigate the impacts of the pandemic, there is still a great deal of uncertainty in regards to event sponsorship and international travel for race participants,” said a BC Superweek press release. “These hurdles make it difficult for race organizers to make the essential preparations to host a BC Superweek series this July.”
Along with the New West Grand Prix, The Tour de Delta, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, PoCo Grand Prix and Tour de White Rock are on hiatus for 2022. The City of Burnaby, however, has indicated it will host the Giro di Burnaby in some form this summer as an independent event.
BC Superweek organizers say they’re looking forward to reconvening in the coming months, with the hope of bringing world-class professional cycling back to the Lower Mainland in 2023. Canada’s biggest professional road cycling series, BC Superweek features more than $140,000 in prize money with nine races over 10 days.
In January, New Westminster city council received a staff report indicating that construction in downtown related to the Pattullo Bridge replacement project and Metro Vancouver’s sewer line on Columbia Street, as well as provincial health orders regarding COVID-19, could make it challenging to hold an event this year. The report included a recommendation directing staff to report back to council in the fall about opportunities to host future New West Grand Prix events.
Instead, council approved a motion to have staff look at alternative routes for a race in New West and to examine what other communities are doing regarding the Superweek Pro Cycling Week.
“I’d hate to think that Superweek could move forward, and only our event was the one that was not able to go forward; I’d hate to see that happen,” said Coun. Patrick Johnstone, who put forward the motion. “Because other communities are still making their decisions and considering whether to hold an event or not, I’d hate to see us be sort of the domino in other communities saying ‘the event can’t go on,’ and that be the reason why the entire week doesn’t go on if there’s not a public health reason or another reason for it not to go on.”
The New West Grand Prix, launched in 2017, is attended by cyclists from around the world. About 4,000 spectators were estimated to have attended the 2017 event, which was held again in 2018 and 2019 before being cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions.