City sprint finish in Edmonton ends 2015 Tour of Alberta

Cyclists check the course: Lasse-Norman Hansen & Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin) confer with Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) before the start of Stage 6. Benjamin Perry (Silber Pro Cycling) and Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) complete the lineup.
© J. Ashley Nixon


Sprint finish win for Nikias Arndt (Team Giant-Alpecin)

The third year of the Tour of Alberta, presented by ATB Financial closed out yesterday with an exciting sprint finish into Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton. Nikias Arndt (Team Giant-Alpecin) from Germany got the Stage 6 win, an inner tube width ahead of Australian Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) with a time of 2:44:57. Kiwi rider Dion Smith (Hincapie Racing Team) finished third.

Nikias Arndt (Team Giant-Alpecin) wins the sprint finish, an inner tube width in front of Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge). © J. Ashley Nixon
Nikias Arndt (Team Giant-Alpecin) wins the sprint finish, an inner tube width in front of Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge). © J. Ashley Nixon

Aggressive riding, hill climbing

A breakaway group of eight riders (stacked with three members of the Hincapie Racing Team) led from the first to penultimate lap in the 124 km circuit through the downtown core and around Victoria Park. King of the Mountains (KOM) points were up for grabs in three of the eleven laps, featuring a climb up Bellamy Hill. Canadian rider Benjamin Perry (Silber Pro Cycling) took full advantage of his place in the octet to secure his lead in the Go Auto KOM competition, four points ahead of Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18). But Benedetti deservedly joined Perry on stage for the Simson Maxwell Power award. Taking the Blue Jersey as the most aggressive rider on the final day should be a big help to the Italian rider in his quest to secure a place on a new team next season.

Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18) powering his way up Bellamy Hill, Edmonton © J. Ashley Nixon
Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18) powering his way up Bellamy Hill, Edmonton during the 6th lap of Stage 6 © J. Ashley Nixon

General Classification

After 865 km of cycling best remembered for multiple counter-attacks up stunning mountain climbs in Jasper National Park and views of mud-spattered riders battling along rough rural roads, the Province of Alberta Yellow Jersey stayed with Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing). He won the General Classification (GC) in five of the six stages, giving him a new and big collection of made-in-Calgary Smithbilt cowboy hats. In second place in the GC (+6 sec) was Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), who also went home with the ATB Financial Best Young Rider (white jersey) award. Third place (+22 sec) was earned by fellow Dutchman, Tom-Jelte Slagter. The Cannondale-Garmin rider’s two consecutive stage wins and that of Lasse-Norman Hansen in the previous day’s race put enough points into the bank for the boys in green and black to win the team title and the fun that comes from spraying each other, and the crowd, with champagne.

Best Canadian rider

The hard work of Mike Woods (Optum P/B Kelly Benefits Strategies) leading up to and during this Labour Day race kept the Red Jersey on his back and the Pomeroy Inn & Suites award for Best Canadian Rider. A good achievement, given that there were 22 home nation athletes that started out, the best home showing in three years of the Alberta tour.

Mud and mountains in the course design

In the post-race press conference, Adam Yates was asked how riding on the mud roads of Canada and Alberta compares with the cobblestones of Lancashire? The Bury, Lancashire native said, “Everyone knows that I’m not a real fan of cobbles, mud, sand…but I had a few teammates to look after me.”

Bauke Mollema was asked what, if he had a say in the design of the Tour of Alberta, would he like to see more of and less of? “Less rain and less cold!” he replied, adding that “it was a really nice course. It has everything in it, a Team Time Trial, some uphill finishes and some sprints.”

Images from the Tour of Alberta 2015

For more images from the Tour of Alberta 2015 please see J. Ashley Nixon Photography

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