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PoCo Grand Prix, BC Superweek bike races on hold again this summer

In its three years, the PoCo Grand Prix attracted thousands of people into the city's downtown to watch top bike racers speed past and enjoy live entertainment in Leigh Square.
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As darkness falls, the men's race speeds through the start/finish area at the 2019 PoCo Grand Prix. Tuesday, organizers of the BC Superweek series of races that includes the Port Coquitlam event won't be able to resume until 2023.

There will be no whoosh of speeding carbon fibre bicycles through the streets of downtown Port Coquitlam again this summer.

Organizers of the BC Superweek racing series, which includes the PoCo Grand Prix, have announced the races will remain on hiatus for another year because of the ongoing uncertainty of arranging sponsorships for the events and travel for international competitors.

It’s the third year in a row the week-long series of races in July that stretch all across Metro Vancouver has been put on hold by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though most of the public health restrictions that have been in place for much of the past two years to limit transmission of the respiratory virus have now eased, organizers said in a statement that continuing “hurdles make it difficult… to make the essential preparations to host a BC Superweek series.”

Besides the evening race around downtown Port Coquitlam, other races include the

  • Tour de Delta
  • New West Grand Prix
  • Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix
  • Giro di Burnaby
  • Tour de White Rock 

The series attracts top racers from around North America, as well as Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Jennifer McKinnon, the executive director of Downtown Port Coquitlam Business Improvement Association (BIA), said news the city’s race won’t be happening again this summer is “disappointing.”

She said the event, which began in 2016 as the centrepiece of a day-long festival that included a business expo and live entertainment in Leigh Square (the races moved to the evening in 2018), would have been a “great way” to highlight some of the changes in the city’s downtown core, including the revitalization of McAllister Street.

“The businesses there have been through a lot with the construction,” she said of the months-long project to make the area more pedestrian oriented.

McKinnon said even as people begin getting back to their normal lives, staying safe from the pandemic continues to occupy their attention, so she’s hopeful when the races relaunch in 2023, the PoCo Grand Prix will again be embraced by the thousands who attended the three previous events.