Where it all began

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10/13/2003| 0 comments
by David Cohen

Where it all began

Gary Scattolon is a well-known figure in cycling circles in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>

Gary Scattolon is a well-known figure in cycling circles in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
. He runs Scattolon Cycle & Sports, a long-established bike store where each Sunday morning local enthusiasts gather for a training ride. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>


Scattolon, who is now 59, came to
) when he was 15.  In 1969 and 1970, he represented
at international cycling competitions.


Naturally, he was very interested in the Worlds coming to
. Interested and proud.


He was appointed a board member of Hamilton 2003 Road World championships.


Scattolon has been around road racing for a long time.  But this week, as he watched the races on the big TV screens atop the grandstands in front of the
City Hall
, he was like a kid with a new toy.


?I just can?t believe it -- that I?m here, that this is happening before my eyes,? he said to me as we chatted leaning against the barricade lining the homestretch of the cycling course.


?I?ve dreamt of it, but now it?s happening.?


Scattolon has always been a tireless promoter and organizer of road cycling in
.  This week he reminisced with Italian cycling legend Francisco Moser about Scattolon International, the first professional road race ever held in


It took place in 1988.  In addition to
Moser, Ireland?s Sean Kelly,
?s Ocaceo de Silva, and others came to
for the race.
?s Alex Staeda, then a stalwart of the Canadian team, also raced.


Scattolon thinks that the1988 race, which was Moser?s last (he won), helped
eventually get the Worlds.


?Moser and others came here and saw that we had the potential to do something like this,? he said, pointing out that Moser connection with the Union Cycliste Internationale.


Scattolon chose a racing course which, though not the same as the World?s, shares basic characteristics with it.  It was a circuit that began in front of the City Hall and linked the downtown with the escarpment and the streets atop the escarpment.  It also used Queen and James Streets.  But instead of heading out west along

Main Street

, in 1988 at the Scattolon International riders went the other way around.


Scattolon wanted his race to continue on an annual basis but that didn?t work out.  Now, he thinks the success of the Worlds can make an annual event possible.  Key to its success would be to get Americans interested in it, he believes.  ?We have to connect with the Americans.?


?People can see that we can put on a world-class event,? Scattolon said.  ?An annual race would go a long way to making
a bicycle city.?


?Look how beautiful our city looks,? said pointing to the TV Screen which was showing an overhead shot taken from one of the helicopters that circled over the downtown during the week.  ?We are naturally endowed ? God gave us the hill [the escarpment] .  Let?s take advantage of it.?

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