Blasts from the past helping Jay Lamoureux on journey to Tokyo Olympics

Island cycling enthusiasts can ride in the tire tracks of some of the past greats while helping out a current Olympic rider.

Ten well-known cyclists have created personally-curated routes that riders can follow by making an online donation to help out Tokyo-bound track cyclist Jay Lamoureux, who this summer will become the latest Island rider to compete in the Olympics.

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Among those contributing their favourite Island routes are three-time world champion and 1996 Atlanta Olympics silver-medallist mountain biker Alison Sydor, three-time Olympic mountain biker Geoff Kabush of Courtenay and Olympic road racer Erinne Willock.

The routes cover road, gravel and cyclo-cross. They range from Olympian Kurt Innes’ nostalgic retracing of his 1994 Commonwealth Games road trek out from the Athletes Village at the University of Victoria to the Games velodrome at Juan de Fuca, to Kabush’s 155-kilometre Greater Victoria watershed route.

Fans and supporters can meet Lamoureux on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Juan de Fuca Velodrome, the Commonwealth Games-legacy facility which was saved from destruction by the Island cycling community, and which post-Games has produced track cyclists such as 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Lamoureux, 2012 London Olympics bronze-medallist Gillian Carleton and 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games gold-medallist Evan Carey.

Lamoureux was asked about his own personal favourite routes.

“I loved the short climbs the best, up Mount Douglas and also up to the observatory,” he said.

To access the 10 routes, go to the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association website at gvva.bc.ca. Donations have typically been between $10 to $100 as more than $1,000 has been raised to help with Lamoureaux’s expenses as he must be based at the national track cycling training centre in Milton, Ont., for much of the year.

The 25-year-old Oak Bay product is a member of the Canadian men’s pursuit team, which was No. 4 in the world in 2019, and he will be among the 75 Island or Island-based athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

“We are progressing nicely as a [pursuit] team and we’re getting excited about Tokyo,” he said.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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