Original article posted on City of Victoria website, August 10, 2012
At an event to celebrate and honour the achievements of Giro d’Italia Champion Ryder Hesjedal, Mayor Dean Fortin proclaimed August 10th “Ryder Hesjedal Day” and unveiled specially designed bike racks—pink “Ryder” racks to permanently mark his achievement in and around the city.
“These bike racks will be a permanent reminder of Ryder’s historic Giro d’Italia win in May, and I can’t think of a more fitting tribute,” said Mayor Dean Fortin. “Ryder is a wonderful example of the passion and determination of our local athletes. All of Canada is proud of his remarkable achievement.”
The new bike racks bear the logo of Ryders Cycling Society of Canada (RCSC), an organization dedicated to creating and sustaining opportunities for Canadians to ride bicycles, and support up and coming riders. Two of the racks will adorn Centennial Square, and two more will be installed at the bike skills park at the Cecilia Ravine Park in Burnside Gorge.
“It’s an honour to be recognized in my hometown and the support has been overwhelming,” said Giro d’Italia Champion Ryder Hesjedal. “It’s great to be home to celebrate the Giro with my friends, family and to get ready for my upcoming pro-tour races in Quebec.”
Ryder will be racing in the pro-series races in Quebec City on September 7th and Montreal on September 9th.
Earlier today, hundreds of Victorians lined the streets and joined him in Centennial Square to get a glimpse of their hometown hero. Hesjedal was feted by Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong and the Mayor.
As part of the festivities, Ryder also presented cheques to two up and coming riders, Nigel Ellsay from Courtenay and Annie Ewart from Victoria on behalf of his organization Ryders Cycling Society of Canada.
“I want to be able to give back to the sport that has given me so much,” said Hesjedal. “To represent Canada internationally, I know how hard that is, and the sacrifices that you need to make along the way. I know every little bit helps in achieving your dreams.”
The RCSC also made a donation to Kidical Mass a grassroots organization that promotes cycling for kids and families in greater Victoria.