More than 2,100 cyclists from across the globe will take to the roads of Greater Victoria on Saturday, as Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria returns.
The annual event, marking its ninth year, is welcoming riders from eight provinces, 11 U.S. states and 10 countries this year, with races available for every skill level.
Rides include a 160-kilometre race for advanced riders, as well as races ranging in distance from 15 kilometres to 140 kilometres. A kids ride, for children between two and 12, is also on schedule.
“We started the Tour de Victoria to introduce more people to cycling and to promote the healthy lifestyle and environmental benefits of riding. This ride welcomes cyclists of all ages and abilities. It’s a ride for everyone,” tour director, Seamus McGrath, said in a news release.
The now-retired Hesjedal will, of course, take part.
“The forecast looks good, the course is stunning, and I’m really looking forward to riding with everyone on Saturday,” the 38-year-old said.
Hesjedal, perhaps most famous for his 2012 Giro d’Italia win and his fifth place finish at the 2010 Tour de France, grew up in the Highlands, Colwood and Metchosin, and now lives in Victoria. He started the Tour de Victoria as a way to give back to the local cycling community and get more people, especially families, involved in the sport.
More than 1,750 participants took part in last year’s rides.
Online registration for this year’s event is open until Friday at 11:59 p.m., and on-site registration is available at Trek Bikes Victoria on Catherine Street from 12 to 8 p.m. on Friday. Registration for the kids ride can be completed on Saturday, prior to the ride’s 1:30 p.m. start time.
All races start and finish at the B.C. Parliament Buildings at Victoria’s inner harbour, with the 160- and 140-kilometre races opening the day at 7 a.m.