Posted by Editor on 04/17/16
The Tour of Alberta, presented by ATB Financial, announced the host cities for its fourth edition, as well as its first team entrant, the powerful TREK-Segafredo, which is the squad of defending-champion Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands and Ryder Hesjedal, one of Canada's top all-time cyclists.
Canada's stage race will reduce from six to five days this year and will start in the southern part of the province and route through the mid-section and finish in Edmonton for the third time.
Stage 2 of the 2014 ToA started in Lethbridge
Stage 1 will kick-start the 2016 event in a city that is familiar with the Tour, Lethbridge, on Thursday, September 1st. A tremendous host community in 2014, Lethbridge, whose hilly circuit, thrilling entertainment lineup, and outstanding community support outshone the unseasonably wet weather, is a great community to kick-off the Tour in Southern Alberta.
The peloton will begin Stage 2 in Kananaskis, which is celebrated as "Alberta's Mountain Playground" with over 50 interconnected provincial parks and recreation areas. Known for its pristine natural setting and active outdoor lifestyle, K-Country, as it is referred to by the locals, will be a scenic start location prior to cyclists heading north to their final destination on September 2nd; the peloton will ride through Mountain View County, nestled against the picturesque foothills of the Canadian Rockies, as they make their way to one of Alberta's esteemed college-towns, Olds, which is centrally located along the busy QEII corridor.
The Stage 3 race on Saturday, September 3rd, will be contested within Alberta's Heartland. Appropriately starting in a town known as the place "Where Adventure Began" with its rich, dramatic history founding site, the race will start in Rocky Mountain House in partnership with Clearwater County. The peloton will then travel up 'Cowboy Trail' to its finish destination, formerly known as Powerhouse, the quaint town of Drayton Valley.
On September 4th, Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, will inevitably be an exciting, action-packed day for cycling fans alike; the finish location of the Tour's Stage 4 is also the site where the ITU World Triathlon Edmonton will take place earlier in the day. As a part of Edmonton's Race Week festivities, the ITU World Triathlon Edmonton and Tour of Alberta will both share the site at the charming Hawrelak Park, where fans can cheer on both the Tour of Alberta's professional cyclists and the ITU World Triathlon Edmonton's triathletes in one spot. Additional details on entertainment programing and a detailed competition schedule will be available at a later date.
Peloton on the descent - Edmonton (2014)
Fans cheer on the riders at the KOM in Edmonton
The final day will be hosted in Edmonton at Churchill Square, utilizing the iconic course featuring a 121 kilometre, 11 lap circuit through the city's downtown core. The course is remembered by the upset in the standings it created in 2014, catapulting Orica-GreenEDGE's Daryl Impey into first place donning the Province of Alberta Leader jersey after being awarded time bonuses in the final stage in addition to the daunting Bellamy Hill climb 11 times. The thrilling Stage 5 circuit has proven to be both an electrifying spectacle for fans and a competitive course for the cyclists.
"Our host communities are really an integral part of the success of the event," said Duane Vienneau, CEO of the Tour of Alberta presented by ATB Financial. "We truly have a lineup of world-class host communities. We are so grateful for the hard work communities do at the local level to help make this elite international event a success."
Exact routes and course maps will be released at a later date. Tour of Alberta team rosters will be released in August. Additional participating teams will be revealed at a later date. Mollema's TREK Factory Racing team took the lead of last year's event and held it all the way till the finish in Edmonton. Mollema is twice a top-10 finisher of the Tour de France.
"It is no secret that the province as a whole has suffered economically this year," says Alberta Peloton Association Chairman, Jared Smith, "As a result of the unscrupulous economic situation, the Alberta Peloton Association made the difficult decision to decrease to a five day Stage race; we empathize with the Tour's prospective host communities and partners who have been hit hard by Alberta's decline in the economy. We are looking ahead to 2017 and beyond when we will return to a six day event."
More information can be found at TourofAlberta.ca.
Thursday, September 1: Stage 1 Lethbridge
Friday, September 2: Stage 2 Kananaskis to Olds (Mountain View County)
Saturday, September 3: Stage 3 Rocky Mountain House (Clearwater County) to Drayton Valley
Sunday, September 4: Stage 4 Edmonton
Monday, September 5: Stage 5 Edmonton
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