B.C. Superweek will certainly live up to its name this year.
The pro cycling series throughout Greater Vancouver will feature nine races over 10 days and more than $100,000 in prize money.
The big news for Superweek this year is the return of the Gastown Grand Prix (formerly called the Tour de Gastown), complete with a $40,000 purse.
The return of the Gastown race will mean more teams and riders making the trip to the Lower Mainland to compete in B.C. Superweek events, said race director Mark Ernsting.
"I think it's a positive step for B.C. Superweek in general," he said. "The more events we can bring in during the course of the week, the more powerful the series becomes, because it leverages more opportunities for teams to justify spending the time and energy to come out this way."
Global Relay, a Gastown-based technology services firm, signed a multi-year commitment earlier this year to bring back the race, which was shelved after 2008 due to a lack of sponsorship.
It had run for 28 years, beginning in 1973. Past winners included internationally renowned riders Lance Armstrong and Alison Sydor.
The Gastown Grand Prix will be contested on the streets of Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood on the evening of Wednesday, July 11.
The Giro di Burnaby also returns to Superweek for 2012. Carrying a purse of $15,000, the criterium on the streets of north Burnaby will take place on the evening of Thursday, July 12.
The $25,000 Tour de Delta, Friday, July 6 to Sunday, July 8, kicks off Superweek, which also includes UBC Grand Prix ($10,000, Tuesday, July 10) and the Tour de White Rock ($15,000, Friday, July 13 to Sunday, July 15). Although the Tour de Delta and Tour de White Rock have operated on a consistent basis on consecutive weekends, the absence of midweek races in recent years has impacted the strength of fields. With three of the four days between Delta and White Rock now filled with races, it's expected the fields will be the best ever this year.
For more information on B.C. Superweek, visit www.bcsuperweek.ca.