2011 marks the 20th anniversary of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines’ involvement with the Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneur. The town has put all its energies into the event to make the Paris-Brest-Paris ride a great cycling festival.
Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines’ adventure began in 1991: for the centenary event, although the Paris-Brest-Paris had been starting from Rueil-Malmaison since 1983, a new start and finish site was chosen: the “Rond Point des Saules” and the “Gymnase des Droits de l’Homme” in Guyancourt. On the morning of Monday 26th, a prologue was organized between the Paris City Council and the “Gymnase des Droits de l’Homme”, under the high patronage of two distinguished guests: Jacques Chirac, at the time Mayor of Paris, and Sir Hubert Opperman, the winner of the 1931 event, who came especially from Australia.
The start and finish of the Paris-Brest-Paris was again organized in Guyancourt for the 1995 and 1999 events. Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines’ involvement in the Paris-Brest-Paris adventure gradually increased.
The 2003 event marked a turning-point in the relationship between the Paris-Brest-Paris and Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. As a prelude to the ride, a large-scale prologue, open to everyone, took place across the seven communes of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. It was the last time that the Paris-Brest-Paris opened with a prologue. The emphasis was placed on animating the start and finish site. Alongside the Audax Club Parisien, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines confirmed its commitment by communicating widely and rallying its population to support the event. This was particularly the case with children from the schools and leisure centres of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, who took part in educational projects based on the ride.
It was also at the 2003 Paris-Brest-Paris that Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines introduced the Paris-Brest-Paris learning box, a fun, educational aid and an ideal extra to the school curriculum, designed to cover 9 subjects and based on cycle touring and the Paris-Brest-Paris. It was distributed to junior primary classes in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.
The sixteenth event, in 2007 (which had a record number of participants), saw the introduction of Paris-Brest-Paris Web TV (parisbrestparis.tv), extra to the Audax Club Parisien website, containing practical information and multimedia follow-up on the ride. It gave Saint- Quentin-en-Yvelines an opportunity to show itself to the world, an opportunity that was further enhanced by the launch of the Culture Pass during the 2007 event. The pass was handed out to riders and followers from all over the world, offering them access to a number of places of interest in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and the surrounding area at preferential rates.
The Paris-Brest-Paris 2007 learning box was a great success, with a total of over 2,500 children working on its original contents in the schools of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and the checkpoint towns.
Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines is offering a wide range of innovations for this new event: an even fuller website open to all, an learning box that comes, for the first time, in a digital version, two new exhibitions organized by the “Maison de la Poésie” and the Tourist Office, and an evening of entertainment on Saturday 20 August, the night before the start of the Paris-Brest-Paris 2011.
Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines has now become a historic partner to the Audax Club Parisien and has forged close ties with the Paris-Brest-Paris. The 17th event should put a further seal on this union!