Since the World Cups on Grouse Mountain circa 2001-2003 there has been a dearth of European horsepower in BC; that will all change July 2-9 when the seven-day BC Bike Race starts.
France’s Thomas Dietsch of the endurance powerhouse Team Bulls and Italian Marzio Daho of Team Olympia will race the solo category. They will be taking on defending champ — and Canadian homeboy— Chris Sheppard of Team Rocky Mountain Bikes.
Sheppard has won both the team category, with Seamus McGrath, and the solo titles at the BCBR and is currently the reigning Canadian national cyclo-cross champion. He won the 2011 edition of the Whiskey Off-Road 50-miler in early May. The seven-stage BCBR covers approximately 350km.
Also racing is Marzio Daho, winner of Trans Rockies 2008 and the Mongolian Bike Challenge 2010. He has accumulated more than 280 wins in a career spanning 20 years.
Dietsch, meanwhile, is a World Cup winner in 2007 and silver medalist at the mountain bike marathon world championships in 2008. He also owns, multiple French national titles.
The experience and European exposure that Daho and Dietsch bring to BC Bike Race will focus a brighter international spotlight on the race, said Andreas Hestler, course director.
Other contenders who will be entering the ring come July 2 will be Jason Sager of Team Jamis and recent winner of the TransAndes Challenge along with his teammate Ben Sonntag, winner of the 2010 La Ruta De Los Conquistadores. Also racing is Cory Wallace of Team Kona, who racked up an impressive fifth place at the Crocodile Trophy last fall.
“We are very much looking forward to having all these accomplished athletes attend this year’s event, the fifth running,” Hestler said. “All of these athletes are top tier competitors, but more importantly they are friendly guys and cycling ambassadors who will enjoy the experience and share their passions with the other participants.”
The average joes will also be riding with guys like Brian Lopes and Mark Weir.