Following the Tour of Alberta Day 3: The Hurting

You know hiking at a very brisk pace up a 3km KOM hill out of Drumheller then jogging back down after standing and waiting an hour for the cyclists to pass may not have been my best idea today. Although the people who passed me and honked and waved only to pull over at the top of the hill to watch the race could have helped a sister out with a ride. Just sayin’ physically I’ve felt better.

But what a race today! 169km from Strathmore to Drumheller battling crazy crosswinds and headwinds in some pretty good heat (clear skies today in Drumheller and I drive home into a monsoon. Oh Alberta). And although Garmin-Sharp had some early indicators of a good day for them with the team keeping up with the breakaways early on their rider Lachlan Morton who just came out of the USA Pro Challenge with the best young rider distinction apparently abandoned the race about 20 minutes in for reasons unknown to me.

At any rate a group of 12 riders made a break for it with 107km to go which included Garmin-Sharp’s Rohan Dennis BMC’s Brent Bookwater and Belkin’s Robert Gesink. This group started with roughly a 5 minute gap from the yellow jersey group but quickly added time to that which would be impossible to bridge. Watching as the lead group passed me on the KOM on Hwy 9 today it was at least five minutes before the peloton passed me which is insane. Robert Gesink took the first KOM points for that hill.

After the lead group which at 25km to go included just six riders looped around and headed back towards Drumheller their lead steadily increased and by the time they hit Drumheller they were ahead by a full 15km and 10 minutes of the peloton. The race to the finish was a tense one between Rohan Dennis and Brent Bookwalter but in the end Dennis takes the stage win and with it the yellow leader’s jersey from Peter Sagan. A well deserved win for Garmin (who incidentally had their bus parked in front of the apartment I was staying at in Drumheller. Coincidence?)

Tomorrow’s stage at Black Diamond will hopefully be a dry one for both the riders and spectators and test the riders with more KOM action. It just keeps getting better!