The para-cycling event that takes place on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve racetrack during the Défi Sportif AlterGo now bears the name of 4-time Paralympian Gary Longhi, who passed away in July 2020. The Gary Longhi Challenge is a major competition that allows racers to earn points toward the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) rankings and is an opportunity for Quebec para-cyclists such as Charles Moreau to kick off the season with a bang, and on home turf, to boot!
This year, Moreau hopes to showcase his skills and be noticed for other international competitions that will be held in Quebec this summer.
“It’s an important event for us because it launches the season. My goal is to set my standards of excellence in the time trials. I always enjoy this competition,” he explained.
The 40-year-old para-cyclist plans to utilize the Défi Sportif AlterGo as an enhanced training camp. He is aware of the event’s importance in the eyes of the national team coaches as they consider their selections for the World Championships.
“I want to demonstrate that I’m in good shape. I believe I’ve still got what it takes to represent Canada at the World Cup in Quebec City and the World Championships in Baie-Comeau. I’m training for those events and I would like to defend Canada’s position in my discipline,” he added.
Success at the Défi Sportif AlterGo
Moreau, who won the handcycling time trials at the last edition of the Défi Sportif AlterGo in 2019, makes it a priority to participate in the event every year. It’s a competition he doesn’t want to miss.
“I take part in the Défi every time I get the chance. My first was in 2009. It’s important to support the event and the young, up-and-coming athletes who participate in it. I go there to have fun and perform well. I’ve always done well at the Défi,” he noted.
“It brings me back to my youth and my early days in the sport. I would watch the veteran athletes. It’s important to be accessible to the next generation and to interact with them so they can learn about the dynamics of the track.”
While Moreau is confident that he will have a great time on the Formula 1 racetrack, he is even more certain the fans will thoroughly enjoy the show because the layout of the race allows them to follow the action up close.
“It’s a really fun race to watch. It’s a short track, which is great for the spectators because we loop around to the same spots often. It allows them to feel like they’re right in the action a lot of the time.”
The Québécois is extremely pleased that fans will be in attendance this year. Audiences have been a rare treat in the province since the beginning of the pandemic. As he explains it, the energy provided by the spectators will boost him toward success.
“It’s going to be great to see spectators in Quebec once again. This kind of event gets us back into the swing of things and gives us the surge of energy we need to stay motivated and keep working hard in preparation for the World Championships,” he concluded.