Posted by Editoress on 07/15/13
Significant road and bridge damage caused by severe flooding that hit southern Alberta June 21, 2013 has prompted a change to Stage 4 of the Tour of Alberta, Canada’s first major international pro cycling stage race to be held September 3 to 8, 2013.
Tour of Alberta organizers announced today that Stage 4 – originally set to start in the community of Black Diamond and travel 200 kilometres, primarily on Highway 40, through the Rocky Mountains to the community of Canmore – will now be a circuit route through the foothills starting and finishing in the community of Black Diamond. The exact details of the new route will be released in the near future.
Tour of Alberta Executive Director Duane Vienneau said the route change is necessary due to the severe damage to Highway 40, which includes major sections of the road and some bridges damaged by the flood waters and resulting mudslides through the area.
The routes for all other stages for the 2013 Tour of Alberta – including Stage 5 from Okotoks to Calgary, which is also in the area impacted by the June floods – remain the same as announced in May 2013.
“We have been working closely with provincial transportation officials and all of our host communities in the flood affected areas over the past two weeks, and are pleased that all of the communities have recovered from any significant damage and are open for business and for visitors,” said Vienneau. “Alberta Transportation has also been making remarkable progress on repairing roads and bridges that suffered damage as a result of the flooding, especially in and around the Calgary area.”
While most of Highway 40 is expected to be open over the coming weeks, Vienneau said the final decision to adjust the route is based on the safety of the riders as well as the spectators for the event.
“Because the riders would be coming off some of the descents at a speed of up to 100-kilometres an hour, even if the road is open for vehicle traffic, the condition of the road may create a safety hazard for the cyclists traveling at such high speeds,” Vienneau said.
With the change, the community of Canmore, a mountain community about 100 kilometres west of Calgary, will no longer be on the route for the 2013 Tour of Alberta.
“Canmore is an amazing community, and the enthusiasm of the town and our local organizing committee towards hosting the Tour has been overwhelming,” said Vienneau. “We would have loved to have included it in to the Tour for this year, but there are not a lot of options to get to Canmore from Black Diamond that have the technical cycling requirements we were looking for.”
Vienneau said Canmore is being invited to remain actively involved in this year’s event, and will be given preferential consideration as a host community for 2014.
More information on the route and the Tour of Alberta can be found at www.tourofalberta.ca
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