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The Alberta Stage Coach

Team Director Gord Fraser’s Daily Takeaways from Each Stage of the Tour of Alberta

Quick Scroll: Stage 1   Stage 2   Stage 3     Stage 4     Stage 5
All pics by Brian Hodes / VeloImages unless otherwise noted

SEPTEMBER 1 | STAGE 1 | LETHBRIDGE | CIRCUIT RACE | 106.9 km

9 laps of 11.7-kilometres in length with a steep, challenging climb out of the river valley
Matteo, Alex and Nigel made it into a break of 25, including many GC contenders. Alex and Nigel made the final selection, coming 9th (+0:13) and 11th (+0:19) behind winner Colin Joyce (Axeon). The peloton crossed the line 2 min+ later.

Gord’s 3 Takeaways:
1. Fanfare: “Lethbridge turned out big time for the stage; great crowds. After a miserable edition in ’14 this was welcome.”

2. Weather: “Wind played a factor; more than the climb yesterday. Foreshadows perhaps more wind which could decide the race overall…?”

3. Good Signs: “Birthday boy Alex w the goods! Puts him in great position for a gc run with the tt upcoming. We still have work to do to keep him in contention but I like our chances! Good to see Nigel returning to his spring form!”


 

SEPTEMBER 2 | POMEROY INN & SUITES STAGE 2 | KANANASKIS TO OLDS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY | ROAD RACE | 182 km

While this stage included the biggest climb of the 2016 Tour, the predominantly downhill course was expected to end in a bunch sprint. Nonetheless two riders from an early break of three held off the peloton nipping at their heels, with Tanner Putt (UHC) taking the win over Alexis Cartier (Team Canada). Behind, the peloton split into two with Silber extremely well represented in the front, including Nigel and Alex, who took over the Top Canadian jersey.

Gord’s 3 Takeaways:
1. Glad I’m retired. Although our Giordana G Shield garments protect our guys admirably, you can’t help but feel for the entire peloton shivering in today’s 8°C and rain after almost 30°C yesterday.

2. Missed Opportunity: Our timing needs to improve with better judged efforts. Although improvement shows, we still have another chance to give Kris a shot at a stage sprint win.

3. The wind and tough conditions continue to help reduce the candidates for overall victory. Surprising to see Mancebo miss the split today. One more day for us to keep Alex and Nigel well placed before the TT.


SEPTEMBER 3 | CLEARWATER TO DRAYTON | ROAD RACE | 181.2 km

Stage 3 started at Rocky Mountain House in Clearwater County and headed north to Drayton Valley. Crosswinds and cold weather again played a part in the outcome of the predominately flat 181.2 kilometre stage that ended on fan-friendly circuits within the town of Drayton Valley. Ben Perry got in the first significant move of the day, but the group was brought back as the peloton went full gas on a 7km gravel stretch. The break of the day finally escaped when 9 riders when clear 75km into the race. Silber was not represented so with 70km to go and the gap stabilized at 2:45, Gord sent Matteo and David, and then added Masbou to take leadership of the chase. The break was caught with 15km to go and after extended counter attacks and reshuffling, GC contenders Evan Huffman (Rally) and Robin Carpenter (Hollowesko) escaped just before entering the finishing circuits. Despite monster pulls from Rast (Trek) and Ryan, they would stay away until the end, with Huffman taking a well-deserved win. Kris Dahl showed signs of his brilliance in Utah by finishing 3rd at 4 secs. Alex Cataford confirmed his fitness by finishing 5th at 7 secs. We have 4 riders in the top 15 heading into the TT, with Alex in 6th.

Gord’s 3 Takeaways:
1. Domestic talent is as close as ever to higher levels. Multiple wins in both recent tour of Utah and so far in Alberta indicates a narrowing of the gap between conti level and above.

2. Getting closer. We are inching closer to our stage win goal. 2 more days left in the Silber team’s race season to get it.

3. Personally I feel tremendous pride and honour directing these hard working riders. They are never afraid of rolling up sleeves and working for every success they achieve.


SEPTEMBER 4 | STAGE 4 | EDMONTON (HAWRELAK PARK) | ITT | 12.1 km

As predicted, the ITT was a critical stage of the 2016 Tour of Alberta. It was a relatively short TT, featuring a steep climb and quick descent of the River Valley. The race was won by pre-race favourite, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) with Holowesko/Citadel’s Flaksis and Carpenter rounding out the podium. We had solid but mixed results, which Gord sums up below. Cataford (10th @ 28s) and Ellsay (13th @ 38s) are now 5th and 7th in GC (@38 and 52 sec respectively), and Alex remains in the Top Canadian jersey. 

Gord’s 3 Takeaways:
1. Consolidation
. Alex, Kris and Ben did good tts to remain a factor going into tomorrow.

2. Disappointment. Ryan has been stellar against the clock the past two seasons, rarely off the podium but an injury suffered in stage 4 hampered his effort yesterday. It’s hard to see a veteran rider visibly disappointed in an a discipline he takes pride in. Look for that beautiful national champ skinsuit to collect tt wins in the first half of ’17.

3. Revelation. When 16 started, Nigel came out swinging w podium finishes in the tt at Redlands and Joe Martin. His summer was frustrating and honestly below expectations. He’s quietly put together a fantastic end of season run w a good tt yesterday and sits now an amazing 7th on gc. This gives us multiple threats and options in what’s sure to be a burner last stage today in the streets and hills of downtown Edmonton. Tune in to see the orange in its last race of the year and thanks everyone for your tremendous support in 2016. [We’ve just completed an interview with Nigel, which will be posted later today before the start of the final stage! Stay tuned!]

The Team

Written by The Team

We started our first season as a UCI continental team in 2014. It's been a whirlwind ride and we couldn't have done it without the support of our great partners.

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