Tour of Alberta sees some wet chilly weather but also great crowds

Stage 4 of this year’s Tour of Alberta was let’s be fair rainy and a little bit chilly but the weather didn’t take away from the excitement of today’s race. Watching from the summit of the KOM climb my buddy Ross and I had figured that the crowd would be maybe 75-100 die-hard cycling fans but we were pleasantly surprised to see the road lined with people willing to tough it out to see some good climbs.

The stage began and ended in Black Diamond on a course running just under 170km through some of Alberta’s most beautiful landscape including Millarville which I hope was everything that David Millar of Garmin-Sharp hoped it would be. 20km into the race a breakaway group of 9 riders started making time on the peloton and just as we saw yesterday the gap between the break and the peloton just grew as the day went on. Members of this group included 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans of team BMC Simon Geschke of Argos-Shimano and Jelly Belly’s Nic Hamilton.

With the break group over 10 minutes ahead leading up to the first KOM there was a clear winner for the first KOM points and that was Belkin’s Tom Jelte Slager who made it seem effortless which I’m sure it wasn’t because I could see the grimace on Cadel Evans’ face following close behind. Back at the peloton team Garmin-Sharp kept themselves at the front setting the pace and keeping their team member Rohan Dennis in a good position to defend his yellow jersey.

The lead group was able not surprisingly to stay ahead of the peloton in excess of 10 minutes and as they headed towards the finish line it looked like Benjamin Day of United Health Care was going to take the win only to be foiled by Cadel Evans who won the stage in just under 4 hours.

So the leaders of the TOA going into the final stage tomorrow are Rohan Dennis (GRS) race leader in yellow Tom Jelte Slagter (BEL) with the KOM jersey and Peter Sagan (CAN) who we haven’t heard much from in the past couple of days in the sprinter’s jersey.

I am debating whether or not to take in both the start and the finish tomorrow. I’m guessing that Christian Vande Velde is getting a little tired of hearing me yell "Go Christian!" at him every time he passes me. Aw hell he’ll only have to put up with it for one more day.