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Tour de PEI wins over racers

By Kirsten Robbins

The Tour of Prince Edward Island was considered a success by most of the riders who participated in the five stage event. The general feeling in the peloton was that the Tour de PEI fell in the perfect slot on the racing calendar, and feelings were that the tour will likely be more popular in the years to come.

"I have done the races in Montreal for three years, and when I heard of the Tour de PEI I thought it was fantastic to be able to race in Canada for two weeks," said Swiss woman Annette Beutler, who rides for the Italian Menikini-Gysko squad. "It is really far for us to come to North America just to do a world cup in Montreal, so having the other two stage races are perfect."

Australia's gold medallist in the 2004 Olympic games, Sarah Carrigan commented on the overall impression of the inaugural event, and the impact the organization and the race had on the women's racing. "My overall impression of the Tour de PEI is that we were treated like queens with wonderful organization and accommodations," Carrigan said.

"The stage two time trial was different and one of the toughest time trials I have ever done, but the Confederation Bridge is one of the treasures of the island and a great way for them to showcase their home. It was really good racing for the first year and with a three-year contract it will continue to grow."

The Confederation Bridge was just one of the stunning attractions that were a part of the Tour de PEI, and Beutler expressed her appreciation for the area. "I really liked the race here and the people here too," Beutler said. "It was a really special atmosphere and the people were so supportive of the bike race. It is always special to come to Canada. I think it was a fantastic race and a different style of race. It is a special island and the time trial over the bridge was awesome. The landscape, the rolling hills, the ocean and the wind made the race beautiful but hard."

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