Posted by Editor on 04/29/15
The Tour of Alberta, presented by ATB Financial, scheduled for September 2-7, announced its initial five teams today including four World Tour teams, led by Australia's top team Orica-GreenEdge, the winner of last year's race; The Netherland's Team Giant Alpechin; Russia's Team Katusha; and America's Team Cannondale-Garmin, the team of Canada's Ryder Hejsadal. The top Australian Pro Continental squad Drapac Professional Cycling was also announced.
"With the UCI Road World Championships being held in North America only two weeks after our race, the most elite teams see The Tour of Alberta presented by ATB Financial as their last chance to prepare," says the race's executive director Duane Vienneau. "The addition of the Team Time Trial and our two-day stop in the Canadian Rockies has definitely contributed to the hype amongst teams this year. We are going to have an unbelievable caliber of teams. All of this makes the 2015 Tour a great year for fans of the sport."
South Africa's Daryl Impey of Orica-GreenEdge won the final stage in Edmonton to come-from-behind and defeat The Netherlands' Tom Domoulin of Team Giant-Alpechin to win the overall race last year by a mere second. It was one of the most dramatic finishes on the world's circuit.
"Last year we were close to winning the Tour of Alberta and that has only made us more motivated to chase victory this year again," said Team Giant-Alpechin's Director Aike Visbeek. "We will be sending a strong team. It will be interesting to see how the new course will influence the race. The riders are very motivated to race again in Alberta."
For the first time, Russia's Katusha team will race in Alberta.
"Team Katusha looks forward to racing the Tour of Alberta in September," said Katusha's General Manager Viatcheslav Ekimov. "We plan to bring a competitive team who will be excited to race in front of our North American fans. It's especially important to support these younger races that are still growing in statue and we always want to honor the great sponsors that step up financially for our sport. I know last year there was a big audience of viewers and I'm sure this year will be even better. We're especially anxious to take part in the Team Time Trial for stage 1 since it's only a few weeks from the TTT in the Worlds."
Drapac, Australia's second best team, will make its first appearance in the Tour of Alberta.
"The Tour of Alberta will be a key event for our team this season," said Drapac Sports Director Tom Southam. "Alberta is a significant race for us, as it will allow our riders to once again to race against some of the best in the world, while maintaining our focus on the North American Cycling Calendar for 2015. We will have competed in some big events and we expect the team to be highly competitive throughout the year. We will bring a diverse roster to Alberta and will be looking to showcase our sprint team for stages wins."
The course will feature a Team Time Trial to start the race in the overall-start city of Grand Prairie. It has become a big draw for teams preparing for the club team time trial at the World Championships, September 19th.
Also announced was the site of Stage 3, Miette Hot Springs, a major tourist attraction famed as the hottest known springs in the Canadian Rockies. The site of the Stage 3 finish on Friday, September 4th, will be the first mountain-top finish in the three-year history of Tour of Alberta.
For more information: www.tourofalberta.ca.
Details of all routes and additional teams be announced at a later date.
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