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New West Grand Prix crosses the finish line for good

New West Grand Prix discontinued - but the Gastown cycling race returns in 2023
Florenz Knauer, a German-born racer and Delta resident, was first across the line in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 New West Grand Prix men's race.

Cyclists have ridden their last race in the New West Grand Prix.

Launched in 2017 as part of BC Superweek, the New West Grand Prix attracted cyclists from around the world.

“The New West Grand Prix will not be returning to New Westminster in the future,” said Ashleigh Young, a communications officer with the city. “The event was brought to New Westminster based on an opportunity to boost the local economy and for community members to get involved in the planning committee and day-of support. Although it did bring a world-class sporting event to New Westminster, the Grand Prix no longer continued to bring those benefits to the community. Additionally, the closure of the downtown area provided challenges for businesses.”

Last year, BC Superweek announced that its members had made the difficult decision to put the professional cycling series on hiatus until 2023.

In a March 1 press release, the BC Superweek pro cycling series announced that elite cyclists from around the world will once again take to the historic cobblestone streets of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood on Wednesday, July 12 for the return of the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix. It was last held in 2019, before races were cancelled because of COVID.

“The cycling community is looking forward to having this historic event return this summer,” said Gastown Grand Prix race director Mark Ernsting in the news release. “With the inclusion of a youth race before the pro races, the event will continue to inspire the next generation of cyclists.”

In the press release, BC Superweek organizers thanked the cities of New Westminster, Delta, Port Coquitlam and White Rock for their support of the series over the years. Along with the New West Grand Prix, The Tour de Delta, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, PoCo Grand Prix, Tour de White Rock Giro di Burnaby have been part of the cycling series.

In January 2022, city council received a report stating that provincial health orders regarding COVID-19 – as well as construction in downtown related to the Pattullo Bridge replacement project and Metro Vancouver’s sewer line on Columbia Street – could make it challenging to hold an event in 2022.

It had been estimated about 4,000 spectators attended the inaugural New West Grand Prix 2017. The men’s and women’s races, which followed a route on Columbia, Eighth, Carnarvon and Sixth streets, was held in 2018 and 2019 before being cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions.

📢 SOUND OFF: Did you attend the New West Grand Prix? Did you enjoy it? Are you sorry to see it go? Share your thoughts — send us a letter.

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus


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