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'We love showing off our beautiful city': Tour de Victoria to bring thousands of riders to local streets

Competitors in the Tour De Victoria race on August 21, 2016. (CTV News) Competitors in the Tour De Victoria race on August 21, 2016. (CTV News)
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In an already cycling-centric city, Saturday's Tour de Victoria is an event most two-wheeled enthusiasts mark on their calendar.

The 11th Annual Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria will bring over 2,200 bikers of all skill levels to city streets and rural roads as the event returns to its normal August date for the first time in two years.

"We are thrilled to be back hosting the event," said tour director Seamus McGrath.

"We love showing off our beautiful city in the summer," he added. "This year, over 63 per cent of riders are from outside Victoria, with many making the trip from around the world, including the United States, Australia, Mexico and more."

In 2020, the pandemic cancelled the premiere cycling race in the capital region. In 2021, it made a comeback, but not until October.

This year, the ride will return to its original format with distances ranging from an agonizing 160 kilometres to 45-, 30- and 15-kilometre lengths for cyclists of all fitness and skill levels.

"I am so proud to be from Victoria and being part of the Tour de Victoria family," said professional cyclist, Ryder Hesjedal.

"This event brings such an incredible experience to our cycling community in Victoria, and I’m awed by the event each year."

As riders prepare to bask in biking glory this Saturday, with a welcome sunny forecast and a beer gardens at the finish lines, the race will also cause major traffic disruptions.

Tour de Victoria route map for 2022.

From East Sooke to downtown Victoria and Central Saanich, many roads will be either partially or completely closed to vehicle traffic.

The ride features some car-free sections for cyclists, controlled intersections and food and medical services.

The event starts at 7 a.m. next to the B.C. legislature on Belleville St, with the 160-kilometre and 140-kilometre riders, followed throughout the day with the other distances, with last riders being off the course by 3:30 p.m.

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