Canada’s greatest criterium. Watch North America’s top cyclists race wheel-to-wheel on Gastown’s thrilling 1.2-km course with the hairpin corner. Women’s race 30 laps. Men’s race 50 laps. Action starts 5:45 pm. Part of BC Superweek.
The Gastown Grand Prix (GGP) is a prestigious Canadian Pro 1/2 criterium race with a long and rich history. Many great names in North American cycling have raced in this important event over the years, spurring the Gastown Grand Prix on to becoming one of the most popular one-day bike races in North America. Cycling greats like Ron Hayman, Alex Steida and Alison Sydor have thrilled GGP audiences over the years with their displays of racing brilliance.
Dr. Roger Sumner came up with the idea in 1973 to have a bike race in the popular Gastown area of Vancouver, BC. Sumner, a Vancouver native and bike racer, wanted to organize a race that would show the public how spectacular top level bike racing in Canada could be. He wanted to create a quality race that would be highly accessible to the public. Gastown, with its historic character-filled, twisty cobblestoned streets lined with cafes and restaurants, fit the bill as the perfect place to have a criterium style race. Sumner himself competed in the Gastown Grand Prix until 1978. He was later inducted into the BC Hall of Fame for his 30 years of service to the sport in the roles of racer, coach, manager and racing organizer. (Tragically, he died in 2000 after being hit by a car while riding his bike.)
The First Race
The first GGP was held in 1973. The racing around the tight course proved to be electrifying from the beginning. The race ended in dramatic fashion with Bill Wild, one of the finest sprinters of the time, trading punches with transported Kiwi and three time Canadian National Road Champion Max Grace while battling it out in the final sprint. Wild won the race and took home first prize, which was a colour TV.