Langley riders returning for BC Superweek

Svein Tuft and Christian Meier confirmed participants for upcoming Lower Mainland bike events

A pair of pro riders are coming home.

Langley’s Svein Tuft and Christian Meier — fresh off their one-two finish at the Canadian time trial championships in Quebec — will be in the field racing at BC Superweek.

Superweek runs July 6 through 15 and features the three-race Tour de Delta, the historic Tour de White Rock, as well as the UBC Grand Prix and the Giro di Burnaby and the Gastown Grand Prix. Altogether, $105,000 is up for grabs in prize money among the nine races.

The local events that helped both get started on impressive careers in the saddle still hold a special place for two of Canada’s top professional cyclists.

“Quite honestly it’s some of the best and most enjoyable racing around — always good courses, good crowds, and the riders are really highly motivated,” said Tuft, an eight-time Canadian Time Trial champion who got his big break riding for the old Symmetrics team based out of his hometown of Langley.

Tuft, 35, returns to BC Superweek for the second time since 2008 having just won his latest Canadian time trial championship in Quebec, and coming off an impressive showing at the Giro d’Italia. In addition to Tuft finishing ninth on a final-day time trial that saw former teammate Ryder Hesjedal become Canada’s first Grand Tour winner, he and Meier helped their new Australian-based team, Orica-GreenEDGE, post its first Grand Tour stage win, helping lead sprinter Matt Goss to the finish line to victory on the third day in Italy.

“We really look forward to BC Superweek because our cycling roots are here, our best memories have always been this type of racing, and it’s a chance to race in your hometown in front of friends and family,” Tuft said.

“We don’t get that opportunity much in Europe, so it’s a real treat to come back and race.”

Meier, a former Canadian National Road Race champion, was also part of the win at his first Giro d’Italia, and is excited about being home.

“BC Superweek has always has some of the best atmosphere around,” Meier said. “And for me personally Gastown is still one of the most electrifying ambiances of all the races I have ever done. Where else do you get to race with 30,000 to 40,000 people — it’s just spectacular. I’ve talked to a few former teammates, and it’s really caught the attention of a lot of people. They’re trying to make a big push to come for BC Superweek.”

With managers from top North American teams at BC Superweek, it’s also a great way to get noticed and earn a professional contract, added Meier.

“BC Superweek can be a big measuring stick,” he said.

“You have a lot of top American teams come and their directors and managers are always watching, so if you are impressing during Superweek against bigger riders, a lot of guys have used that to get contracts with U.S. teams. That’s very important for local riders because you don’t always have the means to go race all the big races across the US. So when all that is coming to you, it’s a huge opportunity.”