Velonews: Tour Of Alberta Hits The Dirt And The Climbs For 2015


Jan 3, 2005
The 2015 Tour of Alberta will return to the dirt roads, which were included last year as well. Photo: Casey B. Gibson |
The Tour of Alberta announced the full details of its 2015 race route on Thursday. The six-stage race, held September 2-7, will cover nearly 900 kilometers, features a team time trial — an important tune-up for world championships — six sectors of dirt roads, and two summit finishes.
This year’s course is dramatically different than past editions. “The first thing that jumps out at you is the diversity,” said Rob Britton, a native Canadian and rider for Team SmartStop. Britton continued, “This course is a huge change from the past two editions. Not to take away from the past two years, which was mostly flat, which favored the sprinters, but this is a great stage race with what appears to be a really challenging course.”
Duane Vienneau, the race’s executive director believes the 2015 event will appeal to everyone. “From the inception of our first-ever team time trial, the two mountain finishes, and our longest stage to date, we’re confident that the 2015 race will be one that intrigues fans.”
2015 Tour of Alberta stage summaries
Stage 1: City of Grande Prairie – 19.6km team time trial
A team time trial kicks off the race in the City of Grande Prairie, a new host city for 2015. This is the last team time trial event before the TTT world championships in Richmond, Virginia on September 20. The mostly flat course should see quick times as the teams hone their form for a chance at a world title in a couple weeks time.
Stage 2: Country of Grande Prairie – 171.6km
The second stage of the Tour of Alberta is a circuit in the County of Grande Prairie with a start and finish in Evergreen Park. The relatively flat course gets lumpy toward the end, as the riders will tackle two 20-kilometer loops in the final, with a 1.5-kilometer climb out of the Wapiti river valley each lap. This climb can be a key launch pad for late attacks, but the finial eight kilometers are flat, which should see the race come back together and give the sprinters their first shot at victory.
Stage 3: Grande Cache to Miette Hot Springs (Jasper National Park) – 181.8km
The third stage from Grande Cache to Miette Hot Springs will see the first shake-up in the general classification. The riders will face two hard climbs late, with both coming in the final 17 kilometers of the stage. The first summit finish in the race’s history up Miette Road will separate the contenders from the pretenders, as the climb averages an eight-percent grade and goes on for more than five kilometers.
Stage 4: Town of Jasper to Marmot Basin Ski Area – 162.1km
The fourth stage will take place entirely within Jasper National Park. The route will include three laps of a circuit through Icefields Parkway, as the climbers will again show their legs. The final climb to the Marmot Basin Ski Area is long — 12 kilometers — and finishes 5,249 feet above sea level.
Stage 5: Edson to Spruce Grove – 206.2km
Stage five from Edson to Spruce Grove is the longest in event’s history at 206.2km, but may also be the most exciting. The course features six sectors of dirt roads, totaling 56.4 kilometers. The west to east route should see a fast average speed, as the prevailing winds give the riders a push throughout the day.
Stage 6: Edmonton Circuit – 124.1km
The Tour of Alberta concludes in Alberta’s capital, Edmonton. The course is an exact replica of last year, which saw Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) claim the overall win by a mere second on time bonuses. Time bonuses are again on offer, but the with summit finishes this year, the general classification may already be decided. The 11 climbs up the steep slope of Bellamy Hill could provide a launch pad for glory, but expect the sprinters to charge to the finish in downtown Edmonton.
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