EDMONTON, Alberta – The exact course routes and profiles for each stage of the Tour of Alberta, presented by ATB Financial, were announced today. The race, scheduled for September 2 – 7, 2014 will feature more than 700 kilometers of racing from Calgary to Edmonton and features a host of varying terrain.
“We’ve reversed the overall route to start with a bang in Calgary at Canada Olympic Park, a nod to the international and world-class nature of the event,” said Duane Vienneau, the event’s Executive Director. “We’ve got a few new twists in the route. Overall, it will be a race made for speed.”
Ryan Anderson, a professional for the Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies team and who was Canada’s highest-placing rider in last year’s race, added: “The overall race is built for speed because it’s relatively flat. But, as someone who has raced the roads of central Alberta, the wind and sometimes non-stop undulating terrain in certain parts can make it very difficult. Last year was a tough race and we had some of the world’s best professionals from Europe here. Expect some of the same type of racing. As a native of the Province, I’m excited to return for the second edition.”
Here is summary of each stage:
September 2 / Tuesday / Subway® Prologue / Calgary, time trial, 4 km
This short 4 kilometer course routes exclusively within Canada Olympic Park in Calgary and starts flat with the final 1.3 kilometers climbing more than 100 meters elevation with six switchbacks to the finish. Riders will start in one-minute intervals and race against the clock. The cyclist with the fastest time will garner the Leader’s jersey and first place. The Subway® Prologue will play a significant role in determining the overall winner of the race because of both the nature of a time trial and the severity of the climb within such a short course.
September 3 / Wednesday / Stage 1 / Lethbridge, circuit race, 142 km
Lethbridge, a new host community in 2014, plays host to this hilly circuit. Cyclists will be served up six hilly laps that include the Stafford Drive climb, which has a 15% maximum grade. Stafford Drive is considered a difficult climb because it is not followed by a descent allowing cyclists an opportunity to recover. With only 5.5 kilometers to the finish, the final lap may not only determine the stage winner but also creates time gaps that could affect the overall standings.
September 4 / Thursday / Stage 2 / Innisfail to Red Deer, road race, 145 km
This course starts in the new host city of Innisfail and routes on first-time roads for the Tour of Alberta. The stage is highlighted by two circuits around Sylvan Lake, which will be a great sight for spectators, before routing into three tough circuits and a finish into Red Deer’s city centre. During the inaugural event in 2013, the race featured the same short, steep climb up Red Deer’s 55th Street which helped a breakaway stick.
September 5 / Friday / Simson Maxwell Stage 3 / Wetaskiwin to Edmonton, road race, 162km
Despite the fact that Stage 5 is the most level terrain in this year’s Tour of Alberta, the course has the potential to be deceptively difficult due to prevailing cross winds on the open roads running south to north. Beginning in Wetaskiwin, cyclists will race directly north and eventually east of Alberta’s capital city of Edmonton through Fort Saskatchewan, a city that saw large crowds during last year’s race. Cyclist will race west to the Edmonton Garrison for a circuit finish that will be highlighted by the use of an airstrip.
September 6 / Saturday / Stage 4 / Edmonton to Strathcona County, road race, 163 km
Starting in Edmonton, Stage 4 is the most technical of the entire city to city road races in this year’s Tour of Alberta. This winding course contains six sections of Canadian Pave and features challenges of “dust-controlled roads”; the course contains three sections of dirt roads that create a challenging condition for the 5 kilometers of racing. The race finishes in Strathcona County with the tightest and shortest finish circuit of the 2014 Tour of Alberta. Strathcona County played host to a start last year which featured huge crowds.
September 7 / Sunday / Stage 5 / Edmonton, circuit race, 121 km
With a play on last year’s successful Subway Prologue course in the heart of downtown Edmonton, this year’s final stage is anything but a walk in the park. With great spectating views along the entire course, cyclists will race 11 laps over an 11 kilometer circuit that will feature the short but steep climb out of the river valley up Bellamy Hill Road. The start and finish at Churchill Square will no doubt be jammed with spectators who may be treated to a dramatic lead change and eventual winner; the course will definitely offer up the opportunity for the strongest rider and team to make the winning move.