Posted by Editoress on 04/23/14
The Tour of Alberta, which launched last year with rave reviews, today announced the 2014 overall course, host communities, two top-ranked world teams, and a new presenting sponsor.
Team Garmin-Sharp and Belkin Pro Cycling, two of the world's top teams, are the first teams to be announced for the Tour of Alberta, scheduled for September 2-7, 2014. Team Garmin-Sharp includes the 2013 race champion Rohan Dennis of Australia and Canada's top professional cyclist Ryder Hesjedal, the 2012 Giro d'Italia winner. Belkin Pro Cycling includes Robert Gesink, the 2012 Amgen Tour of California winner and 2013 Gran Prix Quebec World Cup winner, and Bauke Mollema, who finished 6th overall in the Tour de France and 2nd in the Tour of Switzerland in 2013.
"I loved the Tour of Alberta last year. It had plenty of challenges throughout the whole race and I think the fact it was the inaugural Tour of Alberta made it all the more special to me," said Dennis. "The race itself was organized perfectly. I am looking forward to being around the people of Alberta. I honestly could not believe how friendly everyone was. It's an important race for me and the team this year."
The 2014 Tour of Alberta will reverse directions from last year and with the Grand Depart in Calgary, Alberta's largest city. The overall finish will be in Edmonton, Alberta's capital and second-largest city.
The cities of Calgary, Lethbridge, Innisfail, Red Deer, Wetaskiwin, Strathcona County, and Edmonton have been selected to host a start or finish for this year's Tour of Alberta.
"The commitment by our host communities is special," said Duane Vienneau, the Tour of Alberta's executive director. "They are true partners in every sense of the word. Through their commitment, we will be able to stage a second and successful race."
The opening weekend will be hosted by the city of Calgary, home to the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. The opening weekend will include a citizen's ride, Team Introduction ceremony and other local activities. A Prologue, a short individual time trial against, starts the overall race, Tuesday evening, September 2nd. The rider with the fastest time will take over the leader's jersey. Last year, Slovakian superstar Peter Sagan won the time trial in Edmonton.
The race transfers southeast to the city of Lethbridge for Stage 1, on Wednesday, September 3rd. The world-class field will start and finish in Lethbridge, a first-time host city for the event, and compete on a flat to hilly circuit.
After an auto transfer north of Calgary, Stage 2 will start in Innisfail and finish in Red Deer, Thursday, September 4th. Red Deer played host to a stage finish in 2013. Innisfail is a first time host.
The next three stages will be contested in and around Edmonton. Stage 3 starts in first-time host Wetaskiwin, and routes into north Edmonton, September 5th.
On September 6th, Stage 4 will start in Edmonton and route east to finish in Strathcona County, a start host city in 2013,
This year's final stage will be a circuit race in Edmonton's Centre City and likely to feature two steep climbs off the river basin. Exact routes and distances by stage will be released this summer.
The Tour of Alberta is proud to announce its new presenting sponsor ATB Financial. ATB Financial was an official partner last year, sponsoring such programs as Autograph Alley.
ATB Financial will be included in the logo lockup of the event. Their sponsorship is fully integrated into media, marketing, signage and hospitality programs for the event.
The race is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the international governing body for cycling, and the Canadian Cycling Association. The race holds a 2.1 ranking.
Prologue: September 2 - Calgary (Time Trial)
Stage 1: September 3 - Lethbridge (Circuit Race)
Stage 2: September 4 - Innisfail to Red Deer (Road Race)
Stage 3: September 5 - Wetaskiwin to Edmonton (Road Race)
Stage 4: September 6 - Edmonton to Strathcona County (Road Race)
Stage 5: September 7 - Edmonton (Circuit Race)
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