The Grand Vélo comes to Alfred-Plantagenet

By Gregg Chamberlain
The Grand Vélo comes to Alfred-Plantagenet
The Grand Tour is on its way to Alfred-Plantagenet Township this summer. More than 1500 recreational cyclists will become temporary residents of the Village of Plantagenet as they enjoy a week-long tour by bicycle of Prescott-Russell in Ontario and Québec’s Outaouais region. (Photo : Stock)

Alfred-Plantagenet Township will see a temporary boom in its population when riders with the Grand Vélo Québec tour group arrive in August. 

“This is very good news,” said Councillor Jean-Pierre Cadieux, during the January 16 session of township council. 

Vélo Québec has chosen Alfred-Plantagenet as the launch site for its 30th annual Grand Tour, which will focus on Québec’s Outaouais region and the Ottawa River area of Prescott-Russell in Ontario. During the week of August 2 to 8, the Village of Plantagenet will be the departure and arrival point for more than 1500 long-distance recreational cyclists touring through the two regions. 

“The Grand Tour 2024 will foster a number of local partnerships,” stated Manon Besner, township parks and recreation department director, in her report to council. She noted that the company is making arrangements with le Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien (CSDCEO) and other agencies for support of the event. 

“The Grand Tour leaves its mark,” stated the Vélo Québec brief on the event, “with significant economic and promotional spinoffs in the regions visited.” 

The company noted that participant surveys of previous Grand Tours indicate more than of half of the cyclists taking part plan to return in future to the areas they visited, either for another cycling holiday or to enjoy other attractions. Almost 75 per cent of participants stated they would recommend their Grand Tour destinations to others for visits.  

Vélo Québec will use École secondaire catholique de Plantagenet as the staging site for participants in this season’s Grand Tour. The company’s advance crew will be at the site a day ahead to set up support facilities and also work with municipal staff and local service contractors on setting up designated parking areas and other facilities for the cyclists. 

The 30th edition of the Grand Tour includes a three-day tour group that will depart from the school August 2 for an excursion through Prescott-Russell and Gatineau and return August 5. A second, larger group of cyclists will take part in the seven-day Grand Tour that leaves Plantagenet August 2 and heads towards Papineauville in Québec, returning to Plantagenet by August 8. 

Vélo Québec will contract with local groups for on-site parking valet service for the vehicles of participants in the Grand Tour and also caretaker service of the staging area. Local businesses and other groups are also encouraged to set up kiosks at the staging site to provide sales of supplies or services to tour participants. 

Council approved a request from Vélo Québec for in-kind support of the event. The municipality will provide 10 garbage bins, 10 recycling bins, about two dozen barricades for the parking areas for vehicles of tour participants, traffic cones to mark passageways, picnic tables and other outdoors furniture for use at the staging site. The township will also help Vélo Québec with promotion of the event.

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