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The Tour de l’Abitibi postpones the 52nd edition

Leduc 2014


The 52nd edition of the Tour de l’Abitibi, scheduled for July 12 to 18, 2021, and the Tour de la Relève, which was supposed to take place on July 17 and 18, 2021 in Rouyn-Noranda, are postponed until next year, due to the current situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

The risk assessment, the health measures to follow in an international event and the uncertainty of financial support are some of the reasons explaining this decision. The organization of the Tour de l’Abitibi favors the safety of the riders, volunteers and local population, to the holding of this edition.


Health measures

The health measures and organizational changes required to minimize the risks of the virus spreading, while complying with the government’s and the International Cycling Union’s recommandations were analyzed. It seems very difficult to follow some of these measures due to unique features of the Tour de l’Abitibi, such as teams’ accommodation in schools and meals served in the cafeteria, to name a few.

« It represents a tremendous workload for the organizing committee. Also, these measures would have quickly discouraged the volunteers from getting involved. The Tour de l’Abitibi must remain a flawless event, locally valued and of international reputation », said the Tour de l’Abitibi president, Suzanne Fortin.


Financial support

Besides the 2021 to 2026 agreement with Amos, Rouyn-Noranda and Val-d’Or, the funding of international sporting events is, to this day, still uncertain. Such a wide-ranging event requires careful planning, over several months. The uncertainty concerning the health measures that will apply in July jeopardizes the commitments of a regular planning schedule.

«  The risks of the event becoming a source of new virus outbreaks was also an issue for us. Out of respect for our valued partners and the population in general, who are always behind us, year after year, the decision to postpone, once again, the 52nd edition was the one to be made », mentions Mrs. Fortin.


Local opportunities

The organization of the Tour de l’Abitibi is currently looking into the possible opportunities to locally share its expertise and equipment for the summer season. Discussions are to come in order to analyze the various options.


Economic impact for the region

The activities of the Tour de l’Abitibi and the Tour de la Relève annually attract 156,000 spectators, 17,000 web viewers from 45 countries, more than 200 participants and 500 volunteers. They provide undeniable national and international exposure for Abitibi-Témiscamingue. A study conducted in 2017 reveals an economic impact of $ 1.2 million for the region, specifically in the host cities.


52nd edition

The next edition of the Tour de l’Abitibi should take place from July 11 to 17, 2022, in Amos. As a Nations Cup event, the Tour is holding the highest level of sanction awarded by the ICU. The reputation of this competition has reached beyond our borders. It ranks among the most important junior races in the world. Approximately 150 riders take part in the Tour de l’Abitibi each year.


Val-d’Or, April 15th, 2020 – Following the announcement of the Government of Quebec regarding the cancellation of public cultural events in the province until August 31st, and the details issued by the Minister of Education and of Higher Education for busy sporting events, the board of directors of the Tour cycliste de l’Abitibi have decided to cancel the 2020 edition. The event was to be held from July 13 to 19 in Rouyn-Noranda. This is an exceptional situation because, since its creation in 1969, the Tour de l’Abitibi has never been canceled.

Our organizational concept where club athletes compete on the same courses as the international elite makes the Tour de l’Abitibi one of the biggest pelotons on the Nations’ Cup circuit. The sports center where riders and team members live together under one roof is one of the main attractions of the event and a unique experience for athletes, though this premise is unfortunately incompatible with current social distancing guidelines. The Tour de l’Abitibi, which welcomes athletes from all over the world, brings together some 200 participants and more than 450 volunteers each year. The safety of riders, team members and volunteers will always be paramount for the organization and in accordance with this, we have no choice but to cancel the next edition of the Tour de l’Abitibi.

We would like to thank the city of Rouyn-Noranda, host city in 2020, as well as the cities that were to host a passage of the Tour de l’Abitibi, for their unwavering support. The collaboration of municipal services and access to infrastructures are necessary for the realization of such an event and the exceptional hospitality provided by the Témiscabitibiens contributes to the distinction of the Tour de l’Abitibi internationally. We also thank the teams who have expressed their interest in participating this year, the members of the organizing committee who had already taken actions for the organization of this edition, and all our precious partners. Again this year, we have seen their loyal commitment to promoting cycling at a high-level and promoting the region of Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

The Tour de la Relève
Like the Tour de l’Abitibi / Nations’ Cup, the 22nd edition of the Tour de la Relève is canceled.

A return planned for 2021
We are determined to continue organizing the Tour de l’Abitibi in 2021, and we are confident that volunteers, cities and partners will be there to make this edition a success. The host city of the event in 2021 will be announced in the coming months.

The Final of the Tour’s 51st Edition: The Americans Won the Day

Today was the last day of the 51st edition of the Tour de l’Abitibi. The last race was a 118.7 km course starting in La Sarre and ending in Rouyn-Noranda. Riders had to ride through Palmarolle and Sainte-Germaine-Boulé. Upon arrival, a dense crowd welcomed the cyclists with a lot of energy.

During this stage, none of the cyclists were able to take a lead of more than 20 seconds when they were on a breakaway. Riders strategized and took all means necessary to stop the breakaways throughout the race.

Despite the numerous breakaway attempts, it was only at the criterium, 78.9 km into the race, that some riders managed a slight breakaway. That’s how American Gianni Lamperti took first place, closely followed by Canada’s Riley Pickrell, and teammate Luke Lamperti.

As for the jerseys, the Americans had no intention of letting go of their awards. Michael Garrison won the brown jersey again, becoming this year’s champion. Matthew Riccitello kept the blue jersey which he has been wearing proudly since the very beginning of the week. Lucas Bourgoyne won the orange jersey, and Luke Lamperti won the polka dot jersey.

This year’s Tour was absolutely amazing, filled with surprise and great performances. We hope to see you again at the next edition!

An American podium

Today was the penultimate stage of the 51st edition of the Tour de l’Abitibi. Riders had to cover 109.3 km towards Mont-Brun and then return to Rouyn-Noranda. With both the departure and arrival in Rouyn-Noranda, masses of spectators showed up to encourage their athletes. The Tour de la Relève also significantly contributed to the festive atmosphere.

This stage did not come without its share of difficulty. Indeed, the many curves, the steep slopes and narrow roads have caused athletes a lot of troubles. Some went off-road, others were stricken by the heat, but all persevered and reached the finish line.

Over many long kilometers, five riders were in a breakaway. Lucas Bourgoyne (American National Team), Ethan Craine (Team California), Axel Froner (Team Ontario), Antonin Souchon (French National Team) and Jack Shuckra (Vantaggio Team Fitness and Nutrition). Despite their lead, the peloton was able to catch up to the breakaway in the criterium, except for Lucas Bourgoyne, who kept his lead.

Indeed, Bourgoyne managed to gain a considerable lead in the final laps of the criterium and stood on the first step of the podium. Canadian Riley Pickrell and American Luke Lamperti fought over the last few meters of the race, finishing second and third.

The jersey roster ended up being all-American. Micheal Garrison defended his title as a bearer

of the brown jersey. Matthew Riccitello also defended his blue jersey. Lucas Bourgoyne showed us his talent by winning the orange jersey, and Luke Lamperti took the polka dot jersey from Iwersen.


The Final Stage

Tomorrow, it will be the rider’s last chance to earn one of the coveted jerseys. The seventh and last stage of the Tour de l’Abitibi will start in the city of La Sarre at 14h30. Cyclists will head towards the finish line in Rouyn-Noranda via Palmarolle and Sainte-Germaine-Boulé, riding 118.7km with over 10 criterium laps to complete.

A tough Stage for the Cyclists in Temiscamingue

Today was the day of the long-awaited Teminscamingue. The Témiscamiens offered a very warm welcome to the cyclists riding the 131.5km. There were spectators in every village and the atmosphere was great.

The riders showed determination, riding at 35 degrees Celsius. However, some cyclists encountered difficulties with flat tires or suffering heat strokes. The Temiscamingue challenge was quite unique due to its altitude difference, its landscapes and its exceptional roads.

For the first time since the beginning of this 51st edition, the Tour de l’Abitibi has seen disorganized and dispersed riders due to the heat and valleys. Despite everything, the New Zealander, Joshua Kench, led the breakaway race over nearly thirty kilometers and got first place. He was followed by the Canadian, Jackson Kinniburgh, and the French Lucas Cumenal. The 5th stage’s podium changed its roster with members from various teams.

As for the jerseys, the trend continues. The brown jersey was won by Michael Garrison of the United States National Team. The blue jersey is now worn by the American Matthew Riccitello, and Luke Lamperti of the U.S. National Team, is still proudly wearing the orange jersey, while the polka dot jersey was once again given to the Danish climber Emil Schandorff Iwersen.


The Host City Stage

The sixth stage of the Tour de l’Abitibi will start at 4:45 pm in Rouyn-Noranda. The peloton will head for Mont-Brun and loop back to the host city. That stage promises to be as eventful as the one in Témiscamingue, given the heat wave forecast and the many curves on the course.

Two Stages for the Riders of the Tour de l’Abitibi

The individual time trial of the Tour began at 9 a.m. this morning near the main entrance of the Cégep de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The riders were covering 10.1km around Osisko Lake at an average speed of 47.1km/h.

Once more, the Americans topped the rankings. Michael Garrison finished first, followed by his teammate Matthew Riccitello. In third place, the Canadian Jacob Rubuliak.

The podium was all-American with Garrison defending his brown jersey on top of winning the orange and his teammate, Emil Schandorff Iwersen, defending his polka dot jersey.

Second Stage of the Day: Malartic
Everyone was celebrating in Malartic, where many festivities were held at the Centre culturel et récréatif’s site. Hot-dogs, music, families from all over gathered to enjoy the fourth stage.

Despite a threatening sky and a few raindrops, the race went smoothly with a single fall over the 52.5 km. Regardless, excitement was in the air. The front riders were hustling hard, forcing the peloton to maintain an average speed of over 49km/h, and establishing a new record for the fastest race since 1975. In the end, Canadian Riley Pickrell ended up the victor, adding to his three victories from the 2018 Tour. Luke Lamperti from the United States team finished second, followed by Aidan Coats-Ballaseux from the Team California team.

The American Michael Garrison holds on to the brown jersey. Orange was won by Luke Lamperti of the United States team, and Matthew Riccitello will continue to wear his blue jersey. Once more, Emil Schandorff Iwersen was awarded the polka dot jersey.

The Tour Honours its First Champion
The second Hall of Fame ceremony will be held this Saturday, but the Tour de l’Abitibi was opportunist and used Gérald Rocheleau’s presence in Malartic to enshrine the champion of the first round of Abitibi in 1969.

Rocheleau, a cyclist from the south shore of Montreal, was the first to cross the finish line of the first stage in 1969 after racing between Amos and Val-d’Or. Rocheleau then stepped twice on the podium, winning the title of first champion of the Tour with 50 seconds ahead of Robert Van den Eynde, and becoming the best climbing specialist.

“I was a young boy,” recalls Gérald Rocheleau. “It was the first time I’d ever done a Tour like that,” he said, somewhat surprised by being honoured after all these years. “On the 25th year of the Tour, when Léandre Normand contacted me to write his book, I realized that I had won something big.”

Gérald Rocheleau was a professional cyclist for 4 years, competing mainly in the region of Montreal. While he is past his prime, Gérald Rocheleau is still riding 50 years after winning his championship title. He’s always riding 1000 to 2000km a year.

Temiscamingue Challenge
The 5th stage of the Tour will take place on Friday, July 19. A 131.5 km race awaits the cyclists of the Tour du Témiscamingue. They will depart from Notre-Dame-du-Nord at 2 p.m. and are expected to loop in at 4:50 p.m.

Stage 2 : The longest stage of the Tour de l’Abitibi!

Today was the longest leg of the week. The cyclists had to follow a circuit extending over 136.9 km through the Parc national d’Aiguebelle, a new addition to the Tour. “It’s a great addition to the Tour this year,” said Director Olivier Grondin, “The riders are not accustomed to these roads filled with climbs and descents.”

As expected, there was no collision in the Parc d’Aiguebelle. The riders took a lot more risks on du Collège boulevard during the final lap, where over 30 bit the dust. Five riders caught up with the breakaway. With only a minute and ten seconds between them and the peloton, thery were coming at full speed. The incident, however, did not impact the rankings.

Today was a great victory for the American national team, as its riders Lucas Bourgoyne and Luke Lamperti placed 1st and 2nd, followed by Ethan Craine from Team California.

As for the jerseys, three American national team riders made it to the podium.

Michael Garrisson kept the brown jersey, Lucas Bourgoyne won the orange and Matthew

Riccitello kept the blue one. The polka dot jersey remained in the hands of Emil Schandorff Iwersen.


Two stages in one day

Two half-stages will take place on Thursday, July 18. The third stage is the individual Time Trial and will start in front of the Cégep de Abitibi-Témiscamingue at 9 a.m.

The fourth stage, a 52.5 km course, will start in Malartic, pass through Rivière-Héva, and then loop back to its starting point.

1st Stage of the Tour of Abitibi : It’s a wrap!

Micheal Garrison of Team USA won the first leg of the Tour de l’Abitibi, riding 117.6 km between Val-d’Or and Rouyn-Noranda. The young athlete clocked 2 hours 54 minutes and 47 seconds with his legendary breakaway, followed very closely by Lukas Carreau from Team Quebec and the American Matthew Riccitello.

These riders were part of a fourteen-cyclist breakaway that was seven minutes ahead of the peloton. The Commissioners have made rare decision, i.e.,they stopped the peloton was at the entrance of the circuit to let the leaders finish their race.

The peloton then got the green light complete their three laps.

Garrison, who clocked the best time, will wear the brown jersey during tomorrow’s race. He was also awarded the orange jersey (points classification), which will be worn by Lukas Carreau

of the Quebec team. As for Matthew Riccitello, he was awarded the blue jersey (best young rider). Finally, the polka dot jersey was awarded to Emil Schandorff Iwersen.


A long stage

The second and longest stage of the Tour will take place on Tuesday, July 17 on a road crossing the National Park the longest stage of the Tour on the road via the Parc national d’Aiguebelle. The very impressive 136.9km race will certainly make history in this 51st edition of the Tour.

This stage will start at 4 p.m. from the Parc de la Cathédrale in Amos and the finish line set RouynNoranda is scheduled to be crossed at 7:10 p.m.

Challenge Sprint

The Tour de l’Abitibi paid tribute to young David Carey, who died recently at the age of 13. This tribute took place during the presentation of the riders in RouynNoranda on Monday, July 15, 2019. The presentation and tribute preceded the Sprint Abitibi Challenge. In addition to the ceremony, drivers of the Tour de l’Abitibi are wearing jerseys with an orange ribbon next to the mention “I ride for David”.

The Abitibi Sprint Challenge is a very special exhibition with only 24 riders participating. These riders are chosen by their team for their specific skills.

At first, the 24 riders compete in groups of three. One of the three riders is eliminated at the end of the Sprint and the other two are to take part in the quarterfinal. The quarter-finals consist of four riders with two to be eliminated. Four riders also compete in the semi-final and final.

What an upset! The Tour’s favourite, Riley Pickrell, was passed by the American Lucas Bourgoyne. Pickrell had won each of the three previous sections by a long shot. The third winner is Fabien Selivert, from the team of France.

This Sprint Challenge is very impressive and interesting for the mass of spectators who showed up thanks to the beautiful weather.

The young David Carey came from a family that has been very involved for a long time at the Tour de l’Abitibi: his older brother, Thomas, competed in the Tour as a rider. His parents volunteered on motorcycles even when none of their sons were participating and David himself ran at the Tour de la Relève on top of helping at the organization’s cafeteria, where he would greet all the riders and volunteers.

The next stage of the Tour de l’Abitibi, a road race from Val-d’Or to Rouyn-Noranda where the riders will have to complete three laps of a 3.7 km closed circuit, will take place on July 16.

À très bientôt!
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