Tour of Al­berta

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Matthew Pioro

Back to the moun­tains

The Tour of Al­berta, Canada’s uci 2.1 race, is go­ing big for its first stage. The fifth edi­tion of the event will start in Jasper with three 50-km cir­cuits and will fin­ish with a 10-km climb to Mar­mot Basin, like the fourth stage of the 2015 edi­tion. While the climb is long, it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily favour the moun­tain goats. “It’s not bru­tally steep, so not pure climber’s climb,” says Jeff Cor­bett, TOA tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor. “A strong­man can get up it.” Cor­bett doesn’t ex­pect the climb to give the stage win­ner a race-clinch­ing time gap. In 2015, the pelo­ton was all to­gether when it came to the bot­tom of the climb. “I think be­cause the hill was an un­known that year, peo­ple held back a bit be­fore­hand. We had a hand­ful of lit­tle break­aways but noth­ing got more than a minute or two,” Cor­bett says. “I wouldn’t be sur­prised to see some­thing sim­i­lar. We might hit the bot­tom of the climb all to­gether and let it play out, which is great. It’s the way you want it. Then you get to see a true show­down on the climb with ev­ery­one start­ing on an equal foot­ing,” Cor­bett adds. Two years ago, Tom-jelte Slagter won the stage. Sec­ond-place fin­isher and even­tual race-win­ner over­all Bauke Mollema de­scribed his run up the hill as one of the hard­est kilo­me­tres of his life. From Jasper, it’s over to the Greater Ed­mon­ton Area. The re­main­ing three stages will fol­low a hub-and-spoke setup, with ev­ery­thing cen­tred around the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal. Fans will be able to catch a lot more of the rac­ing as the stages are more com­pact than in pre­vi­ous years. “I think it com­presses the drama and com­presses the ac­tion,” he says.

The fi­nal stage is a TOA clas­sic. The past three years of the race have con­cluded with a cir­cuit in Ed­mon­ton that fea­tures the start/fin­ish at Churchill Square, the Bel­lamy Hill Road climb and the run by the leg­is­la­ture and along the river. A crowd usu­ally gath­ers at the top of Bel­lamy where you can see al­most two-thirds of the hill. Fam­i­lies hang out on the leg­is­la­ture grounds. This fi­nal day of 124 km is usu­ally com­pet­i­tive right to the end. In 2014, Tom Du­moulin lost his over­all led by one sec­ond on this stage. In 2016, the de­fend­ing cham­pion, Bauke Mollema, started this stage one sec­ond back from Robin Car­pen­ter. The Dutch rider on the World­tour team (Trek-se­gafredo) wasn’t able to take the over­all win away from the U.S. racer on the con­ti­nen­tal team (Holowesko/ci­tadel pre­sented by Hin­capie Sports­wear).

left

Tom-jelte Slagter wins Stage 4 of the 2015 Tour of Al­berta in Jasper

bot­tom

Rid­ers head to Mar­mot Basin dur­ing the 2015 Tour of Al­berta

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