THE PRESS ROOM - for immediate release

The Route verte will surpass 3000 kilometres in 2002

>> par Vélo Québec  Quebec City, May 23, 2002 – Vélo Québec and the Ministère des Transports du Québec, in conjunction with the bicycle and outdoor industries, are proud to announce the final sprint in anticipation of the official opening of the Route verte and its 4,300 kilometres in 2005. This year, a further 400 kilometres will be identified with Route verte signs. And in 2002, as new stretches are completed all over Quebec, this national bikeway will for the first time cover more than 3,000 kilometres. Once these new sections open, almost 75% of the Route verte will have been completed since the project began in 1995.

This announcement comes during the 2002-2003 phase of the Route verte promotion campaign, which began last year and runs until 2005, the year of the bikeway's international inauguration. The news was announced at a press conference today in Quebec City. Present were Mr. Serge Ménard, Minister of Transport and Minister responsible for the Laval region, Mr. Raymond Dutil, of Groupe Procycle, and Mr. Louis Garneau, of Louis Garneau Sports, co-presidents of the promotion campaign and representatives of the Quebec cycle industry, together with Mr. Jean-François Pronovost, executive director of Vélo Québec.

"The year 2005 will be a landmark for cycling in Quebec: by then, there will be more than 4,000 km of bike paths and trails - Route verte - running through the province", announced Jean-François Pronovost, executive director of Vélo Québec, the organization appointed by the Ministère des Transports du Québec to coordinate development of the Route verte.

Since 1995, the Ministère des Transports has been a major partner in the Route verte and provided essential funding for the project. According to Minister Serge Ménard, the department has already invested $33 million in the Route Verte and plans to inject a further $40 million between now and 2005, including $13.3 million this year. Some 60 projects along Quebec roads are to be completed this year as well as 15 joint projects with municipal partners and bike path managers. "We are making these tremendous investments because we have faith in the enduring popularity of cycling and know how important this bikeway for the Quebec economy and the physical fitness of Quebecers", he explained.

In addition to Louis Garneau Sports, Procycle, Raleigh, Victoria Precision and Giraff, this year four new corporate sponsors join the promotion campaign: Chlorophylle, Cycles Devinci, SOS Vélo and Arkel. Mr. Raymond Dutil, president of Groupe Procycle, and Mr. Louis Garneau, president of Louis Garneau sports, are joint presidents of the campaign. "This bikeway offers cyclists the opportunity to discover the beauty of our province and at the same time do some healthy exercise - we are very proud of it ", said Louis Garneau. "We are honoured to be associated with this exciting project, which is sure to attract cyclists from all over the world", added Raymond Dutil.

The Route verte, originally devised by Vélo Québec, is being developed jointly with the Government of Quebec, the Ministère des Transports du Québec and regional partners.

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