World-Class Cycling Returns to PEI with Tour de PEI
     May 7, 2008

CHARLOTTETOWN – Prince Edward Island’s seaside villages and idyllic countryside will be transformed into Canada’s most exciting new cycling destination with the return of Tour de PEI from June 8-12.

The inaugural race was named Road Event Organizer of the Year by the Canadian Cycling Association in 2007. The event is now attracting a growing amount of interest from athletes around the world.

One hundred female cyclists are expected to participate in the five-day, five-stage race. The new route highlights the Island’s scenic countryside and coastline for thousands of spectators and 600,000 television viewers who are expected to tune into a feature presentation of the race. Media coverage reached one million households during last year’s event.

Tour de PEI is a perfect fit for Prince Edward Island because it showcases before the world everything the province has to offer,” said the Honourable Valerie Docherty, Minister of Tourism and Honourary President of Tour de PEI. “This event is more than a bike race as it presents Prince Edward Island to the world.”

The participating athletes will cross scenic but challenging terrain covering a total of 403 kilometres, including a 120 kilometre-long race across the hilliest regions in central PEI.

A highlight of the race will take place on Monday, June 9, when cyclists will race in a time trial across the 12.9-kilometre-long Confederation Bridge. The bridge will be closed between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on that day.

“The Government of Canada continues to work with its partners to build a strong and sustainable tourism industry here in Atlantic Canada,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).  “Investment in this world-class event has a direct impact on the local economy, while spotlighting the beauty and hospitality of Prince Edward Island internationally.”

Scotiabank is again helping make Tour de PEI possible in 2008.

“Scotiabank is proud to join forces, once again this year, with the World Cup Cycling Organization and Confederation Bridge, to bring this world class event to this great country,” said John Oliver, Senior Vice-President Atlantic Region, Scotiabank. "Tour de PEI will help put a greater emphasis on athletics in the lives of women and will bring athletes from coast to coast and around the world right here, to Prince Edward Island."

The event’s organizer, Daniel Manibal, said he continues to receive excellent feedback from athletes and coaches after last year’s race. “People are talking about it. The first event was so successful that this year, cyclists are calling us to say they want to participate,” Manibal said. “It shows us that Prince Edward Island is now on the world cycling map and Tour de PEI is now one of Canada’s top events.”

Two special events are planned on the final day of the race, Thrusday, June 12. Children who pre-register will have the opportunity to race on the professional route in front of thousands of spectators. After the final awards ceremony at 7 p.m., the Confederation Bridge Concert Series will begin with a free concert featuring New Brunswick’s Chris Colepaugh and the Cosmic Crew and PEI’s Tim Chaisson. The free concert will take place on the steps of the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Tour de PEI is made possible in-part through funding from ACOA, Tourism PEI, Scotiabank, Confederation Bridge and many others.

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