Final day for Tour of Alberta and Garmin-Sharp show their mettle

I don’t even know where to begin with this post – my brain is tapped from the past 4 days of non-stop travel and excitement not to mention excellent cycling thanks to the Tour of Alberta and I’m not sure I can even do a proper recap of the day’s events. Here I go nonetheless. Prepare for some gushing.

The day started in Okotoks the starting point of this the fifth and final stage of the Tour. The weather was spectacular a sharp contrast to yesterday’s rain and cold and the people were out in droves. The race course was 129.5km and made it’s way through Okotoks Bragg Creek and ending up in Calgary where the riders looped around downtown four times in a final sprint to the finish. Unlike the previous three days of racing the break today only held at 1:30 for the most part but closed to around 15 seconds by the time the riders reached the final four circuits of the course with three of the original break still holding out in front which included Fummi Beppu (OGE) Adam Farabaugh (GQC) and James Stemper (5HR). At the third lap sadly James Stemper crashes with just one lap to go. The remaining two cyclists in the break were caught by the peloton at the one lap mark with Argos and United Health Care vying for the front. And with little surprise and true to form Peter Sagan (CAN) showed his sprinting chops and managed to speed past the front of the group taking the final stage of the tour in great form. The crowds lining the route downtown were phenomenal the cheers were deafening and the atmosphere today was electric – loved every second of it. See? Gushing.

The final standings for the Tour of Alberta are as follows: Rohan Dennis (GAR) yellow jersey and Tour Leader overall race winner; Tom Jelte Slager (BEL) KOM leader; Peter Sagan (CAN) sprint leader; Rohan Dennis (GAR) Best Young Rider; BMC Racing Team Tour Tracker Team Leader; Ryan Anderson (Optum) Best Canadian Rider; Adam Farabaugh (Equipe Garneau) Most Aggressive Rider.

I must also mention that this race marks one of the very final pro-races for Garmin-Sharp’s Christian Vande Velde who will be wrapping up his pro cycling career shortly with his final race in the US having been last month’s USA Pro Challenge. He has been a long-time favorite of mine and I feel extremely lucky and privileged not only to have seen him ride in last year’s Tour de France but to have one of his final races be on my own turf. Sad to see him go but so very happy that he was here. Best of luck!

I am so proud that our province was able to hold this outstanding international event and am really looking forward to next year’s Tour already. Truly this was the most fun and excitement that I’ve had in my own backyard since I can remember and that I can feed my cycling addiction this close to home with such outstanding talent overwhelms me. Vive le Tour!

*Thanks to photographer James May for his amazing shot of Yellow Jersey winner Rohan Dennis.