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Cheers, cowbells for first PoCo Grand Prix

The inaugural PoCo Grand Prix in downtown Port Coquitlam was the second to last race for BC Superweek.





Cheers rang out and cowbells clanged in downtown Port Coquitlam all day Friday as the city hosted its first-ever PoCo Grand Prix.

The cycling race — the penultimate stop for BC Superweek, a 10-day series that features eight contests with more than $125,000 up for grabs — drew thousands of spectators wanting to catch a glimpse of the professional athletes.

And it ended in glorious fanfare with eight-time U.S. national champion Justin Williams of Los Angeles (riding for Cylance/Incycle p/b Cannondale) clinching the men's Pro 1/2 title, taking a time of 59:33 minutes.

Williams narrowly beat out Australians Michael Rice (Garneau-Quebecor) and Scott Rider (Subaru NSWIS & MS) to garner the $2,200 prize.

Two Australian riders also scored in the Top 3 for the women's Pro 1/2/3 event.

Kendelle Hodges, an independent racer from Melbourne, sprinted to first with a time of 51:49 minutes while second place went to Kimberley Wells of Canberra (Colavia/Bianchi) and third spot to Alison Jackson of Vermillion, AB (Team Canada).

The day started with the women's category 3/4, won by Bronwen Campbell of West Vancouver (Cannondale pb Fortius) with a time of 28:38 minutes. It was followed by the men's category 3/4, won by North Vancouver's Vince Marcotte (Langlois Brown Racing) with a time of 36:45 minutes.

In between the competitive races, organizers held a corporate challenge that included Town Haul — a team made up of Tri-City mayors Richard Stewart, Greg Moore, Mike Clay and John McEwen — as well as youth and kids' races. The latter attracted some 200 participants, making it the largest turnout ever for a BC Superweek kids' race.

Sponsored in part by The Tri-City News, the PoCo Grand Prix was emceed by TV sports anchor Jay Janower, a Port Moody resident, and Andrew Pinfold, a North Vancouver cyclist and program director for Team DEVO.

Meanwhile, inside the 1.3-km circuit was plenty of entertainment: Leigh Square bandshell saw the likes of Locarno, Bird & Lion, Ache Brasil, Sean Michael Trio and Groove & Tonic while Veterans Park — in front of city hall — had children's activities and tunes from Will Stroet.

On and off McAllister Street, Norco set up a kids' zone while a business expo was staged along Leigh Square Place. 

More than 200 volunteers were part of the PoCo Grand Prix, which was presented by Dominion Lending Centres.

BC Superweek wraps up this weekend with the Tour de White Rock.

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