Global Relay Brings Bicycle Racing Back to Gastown for 2012 and Beyond with $1-Million Commitment

Gastown Technology Services Firm Commits to Multi-year Title Sponsorship of Historic Race

Vancouver, BC - January 27, 2012 — Global Relay, a Gastown-based technology services firm, today announced a multi-year commitment to bring back the Gastown Grand Prix, (formerly the Tour de Gastown) as Title Sponsor. Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 will mark the revival of this prestigious professional cycling race which ran for 28 years, beginning in 1973.

The Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix is a Pro.1/2 Criterium cycling race where male and female riders complete 30 to 50 laps around a 1.2km circuit, reaching speeds of up to 70km/h. The Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix is proudly supported by Presenting Partner Allstream, Canada’s all-business communications provider, as well as the Gastown Business Improvement Society.

The race will attract elite teams and independent riders at the Pro-Am level from across North America and around the world. Past winners include stars of the cycling world such as the last winners of the event Andrew Pinfold, Gina Grain (2008), as well as internationally renowned riders Lance Armstrong and Alison Sydor (1991).

Race routing for the 2012 event will remain similar to that of previous years, with the course looping around Gastown and the start/finish line situated at the corner of Cambie and Water Streets. The Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix will be free for spectators and promises an exhilarating experience for cycling fans. 

The Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix is a part of BC Superweek — a series of several independent events that happen annually around the second week of July in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, including the Tour de Delta, UBC Grand Prix, Giro di Burnaby and Tour de White Rock.

"The announcement of the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix is fantastic news for the cycling community and for fans of the sport as it joins the BC Superweek series,” said Mark Ernsting, Race Director. “Gastown has gone without a pro cycling event for several years due to a lack of sponsorship, and now Global Relay is stepping in to fill that gap.”

The Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix continues a rich tradition of professional cycling in Gastown. Since its inaugural year in 1973, the race has become one of Canada’s best-loved professional cycling events thanks to its challenging course, long history and historic location. 

“When I was beginning to race back in the 1980’s, Gastown was THE race that all local cyclists dreamed of winning,” said Brian Walton, the 1988 Tour de Gastown winner.  “Gastown gave me motivation to ride in the rain and snow, so I could one day stand on the top of the podium. It was a benchmark for greatness. It was a goal. It was the platform. It was a race that developed champions and built a community of athletes that succeeded on and off the bike. And now, it is back. What a great day and future for all! I look forward to watching now and the feeling it inspires in future athletes.”  

This community event will be coordinated with the help of many talented volunteers. Those interested in getting involved can visit www.globalrelayggp.org/volunteer/

With its headquarters at 220 Cambie Street, Global Relay has been a part of the Gastown community since its founding in 1999. By committing to sponsorship of this event from 2012 and beyond, the company aims to make a lasting contribution to Gastown residents and business, and to the cycling community.

About Allstream

Allstream is a subsidiary of Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS Allstream). As one of Canada's leading national communication solutions companies, MTS Allstream provides innovative communications for the way Canadians want to live and work today. The Company has more than 100 years of experience, with 5,500 employees across Canada dedicated to a mission of delivering true value as seen through the eyes of our customers. MTS Allstream has nearly two million total customer connections spanning business customers across Canada and residential consumers throughout the province of Manitoba. The Company's extensive national broadband and fibre optic network spans almost 30,000 kilometres. Manitoba Telecom Services Inc.'s common shares are listed on Toronto Stock Exchange (trading symbol: MBT). Customers, stakeholders and investors who want to learn more about MTS Allstream are encouraged to visit: www.mtsallstream.com.

For more information: www.globalrelayggp.org/