MONTREAL, Quebec (BRAIN)—George Hincapie, Ivan Basso and Alessandro Ballan were among the dozen or so professional cyclists who signed autographs at booths yesterday during ExpoCycle. The riders were in town for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, a UCI Pro Tour event, held Sunday.
The Sunday race injected new energy into the first day of the Canadian trade show as it was broadcast live on a big screen on the show floor. Pat McQuaid, president of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UC), cut the ribbon to kick off the show.
“Canada is a very important market,” McQuaid said. “I see Canadian athletes around the world competing and there are two pro tours here this weekend, which have had such strong support.”
Janet O’Connell, executive director of the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada, which organizes the annual trade show, said retailer registration was way up compared to last year.
“Our pre-registration was close to 3,000, a big increase over 2009,” she said. “We have a lot of dealers we haven’t seen on the show floor for a few years. We added a lot to the show in terms of education, test ride area and morning rides that have added a lot of value and we’re seeing a lot more retailers as a result.”
New exhibitors featured products ranging from apparel to P&A and the latest bikes. About 110 exhibitors representing more than 800 brands took up booths.
O’Connell, who noted that brands were buying exhibit space up until the last minute, said the mood was very upbeat.
“The show aisles were well traveled. Everyone I spoke to was in a positive mood looking toward the opportunities 2010 will bring,” O’Connell said at the end of the first show day.
The show wraps up today.
(PHOTO: Jean Cloutier, president of the BTAC Board of Directors and vice president of Outdoor Gear Canada; John Tolkamp, president of Canadian Cycling Association; Pat McQuaid, president of UCI, and Janet O’Connell, executive director of the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada.)