After a two-year absence, the world’s mountain bike elite will meet again from August 5 to 7 for the 30th edition of the Vélirium, at Mont-Sainte-Anne, which will host Coupe du UCI Mercedes-Benz world.
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400 professional athletes are expected for the competitions which will begin on Friday afternoon. Nearly 350 emerging athletes aged two to 12 will also be there.
The event’s executive producer at Gestev, Marianne Pelchat, who has been involved with the organization since 2004, is particularly looking forward to the return of the competitions.
“In 2019, it was a World Championship, but this year it is the return of a World Cup event, she explained. The Mont-Sainte-Anne stage is legendary. It’s a classic that is one of the favorites of athletes.
“The atmosphere is crazy”
Thursday, during the press conference, several Quebec participants were feverish.
“My goal is to have my legs finished at the finish and to have earaches because of the encouragement from the spectators,” said Léandre Bouchard with a smile. I arrive after a 30th position in Snowshoe [en Virginie-Occidentale] in the United States and I don’t think I’m a favorite for victory. If I can top this result, that would be great. […] It’s special here because the intensity is quadrupled. Incentives are personalized. We appropriate the encouragement in French. It was something that I missed.”
“In the section of the rise of the marmot, it will stir, he added. It’s really physical. Spectators can be less than a meter from us. The atmosphere is crazy.”
Without putting too much pressure on the results, Léandre Bouchard wants to make sure to progress to qualify for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
“I participated in the Olympics in 2016 and I would like to go back,” said the 29-year-old cyclist. Currently, I am in my best years. In 2024, I will be mature.
For her part, Roxanne Vermette, who grew up near Mont-Sainte-Anne, is excited at the idea of living this experience at home.
“This is the second time that I will compete at Mont-Sainte-Anne, said the 21-year-old athlete. I live a few meters from the trails. It’s really special to experience this with all my family and friends who will be present […]. It’s a big gathering of mountain bike enthusiasts. Everyone is enjoying the event and everyone is looking forward to it.”