Marie-Ève Croteau saw her dream of racing on the streets of her neighborhood die this weekend when bacteria attacked her lungs a few weeks ago. But the seasoned paracyclist still has an excellent reason to rejoice: she is still very much alive.
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“It was serious, I was really out of breath,” says Croteau, who has competed in two Paralympics. This happened immediately after the Canadian championship in Edmonton. They saved my life at the hospital. »
“My larynx was damaged, she adds, so the doctors told me it was impossible to compete until the end of the season. »
Therefore, on the sidelines, the native of Charleburg will attend the UCI Para-Cycling World Cup starting today, in which 300 athletes from 35 countries will participate. (see other text below).
“This is really happening at home. I grew up at the Arpidrom, I live two minutes away. It’s a dream I thought I would achieve, but I will push for the event to return next year,” said the 43-year-old athlete.
She aspires to Paris
Trials Croteau has gone through great trials throughout his life. Hit by a drunk driver when she was a teenager, she had to fight flesh-eating bacteria.
A concussion forced him to miss the London Games, after which his adapted bikes were stolen a few days before those in Rio.
But the elite para-cyclist, two-time world champion in 2011, 2012 and 2013, refuses to let this new challenge sound like the death knell of her career.
She has now resumed training in the gym – at a moderate pace – and is waiting for her larynx to fully recover before she can get back on her horses, with a view to the Paris Games in two years’ time.
During this forced break, she participated in the organization of this world championship, which will be held in her yard.
Croteau has another appointment in the coming days with pulmonologist Pierre-Alexis Lépine of the University Institute of Cardiology and Pulmonology in Quebec.
But this time the meeting is not purely medical.
“I told the doctor: You really saved my life. I bought him a very small watch wheel and will meet him to bring it. »
Tremors and life lessons
Spectators attending the UCI Para-Cycling World Cup events can expect to experience excitement but also to see great lessons in courage, the athletes who will be taking part emphasize.
Today through Sunday, elite paracyclists will battle for victory on the streets of Charlesburg. Several routes were designed, in particular near the Arpidrome or around the grounds of the Sisters of Charity.
Like a championship
The 300 cyclists will be divided into four categories: tandem, handbike, tricycle and regular bike, with or without adaptation.
The program includes time trials, relay races and road races.
“With the number of athletes present, it’s the equivalent of a world championship,” said Louis Barbeau, director general of the Quebec Federation of Cycling.
“Descent to Bourg-Royal, it will be! adds paracyclist Marie-Ève Croteau, who specializes in trikes. I think the tandems will go 90, 100 km/h. It’s impressive! »
Originally from Victoriaville, Charles Moreau will take part in the handcycle races.
He likes the Charlesbourg course coming to get his power.
The asphalt on certain parts of the pitch was also redone after the visit of Mayor Bruno Marchand.
A road bronze medalist at the Rio Paralympics, Moreau is clearly happy to be competing in a race not far from home.
Several of his relatives are expected to attend, as well as Victoriaville Mayor Antoine Tardif.
“Come see this! »
But the 40-year-old athlete also wants to send a message to the people of Quebec.
“Come and see this,” he said. People don’t suspect what we are capable of. It’s an eye opener, this kind of event. Sometimes we go through difficulties in our daily life. This allows some people to motivate themselves to get through theirs. »
“It’s a life lesson,” adds Marie-Ève Croteau. Seeing a legless person climbing a hill at 40 km/h is tough. It tells people to get out of their homes and get active, regardless of their disabilities or difficulties. »