Hilton Clarke has fond memories of Vancouver and BC Superweek, including a win at the historic Tour de Gastown in 2006, and a second finish in 2008.
The Australian-born, California-based professional cyclist is hoping to make the return trip this summer even more memorable when he comes back to compete in BC Superweek, which includes the return of the popular Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix presented by Allstream.
Not only will Clarke be coming back with his brother and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling teammate, Jonathan, he will also celebrate his 33rd birthday on July 11th – the same day BC Superweek celebrates pro cycling’s return to Vancouver’s cobblestones with the rebranded Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix. And because North Vancouver’s Andrew Pinfold, who won the last race in 2008, retired this season, Clarke is the closest thing to a defending champion.
Clarke is proud to be part of a history that includes big wins by names like Lance Armstrong, Alex Stieda, Gord Fraser, Brian Walton, and Alison Sydor, and he’s eager to get back in front of the crowds that helped make Gastown famous.
“Gastown has not only the history but also one of the most amazing crowds out of all the crits in North America,” said Clarke, in his 13th year in North America. “Being a sprinter, it’s not often I win a race solo, but in 2006 I was lucky enough to ride the last two laps off the front on my own, and I have a great memory taking the first corner on the last lap and looking to the right and noticing the [six-story] car park to my right was so packed of people, it looked like a grandstand.”
With a $15,000 first prize in this year’s men’s race at Gastown – the largest top prize in North America for a single criterium – Clarke will need to find the extra gear that has made him one of the best sprinters on the North American pro circuit for the past 12 years, including 10 podiums and three wins last season, and another victory among three podiums already this season. “A $15,000 check would be a lovely birthday present,” Clarke said.
Competition will be tough throughout BC Superweek, with top North American teams and overseas signing up to compete for $105,000 over nine races. BC Superweek starts with the three-stage Tour de Delta July 6-8, continues mid week with the UBC Grand Prix on July 10, the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix on July 11, and Giro di Burnaby on July 12, before wrapping up another three-stage weekend at the historic Tour de White Rock from July 13-15. “Every year the best Canadian riders turn up,” Clarke said.
BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest cycling series, with $105,000 in prize money available during nine races over 10 days. BC Superweek runs from July 6 through 15, and is made up of the Tour de Delta (races on July 6, 7, 8), Original 16 UBC Grand Prix (July 10), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 11), Giro di Burnaby (July 12) and the Tour de White Rock (races on July 13, 14, 15). For more information, please visit: www.bcsuperweek.ca
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Media Relations, BC Superweek