Rally Cycling is bringing a strong team to the upcoming Tour of Alberta that features three potential leaders for the general classification battle, with Tour of Utah winner Rob Britton leading a charge that will also include 2016 Alberta stage winner Evan Huffman and climbing talent Sepp Kuss.
Jesse Anthony, Matteo Dal-Cin, Adam de Vos, Danny Pate and Colin Joyce, who won the opening Alberta stage last year and led the race for a day, will round out the US Continental team's roster.
"My main focus is to end the season with a strong result," Britton said. "The team will be looking for success in stages, however the overall will be our main focus."
Britton took the lead in Utah with a powerful performance in the race's short uphill time trial at elevation, then hung on over four more stages to take the overall win over Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare) and Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly-Maxxis). He suffered at the Colorado Class less than a week later and finished 30th overall.
"Honestly, I was pretty beat up after Utah and it showed in Colorado," he said. "I've had a few weeks at home to recuperate and now I'm feeling good and hungry to race again. After Alberta, I have a few races with the Canadian National Team and then I am going to do some mountain biking."
Kuss, who was second on Utah's second stage to Snowbasin Ski resort and led the race for a day, finished ninth in Utah and sixth in Colorado after an untimely mechanical doomed his efforts in Breckenridge. Huffman, who won stage 3 in Alberta last year and finished third overall, is in the midst of a stellar season that saw him win two stages at the Tour of California along with the time trial stages at the Cascade Cycling Classic and the Tour of the Gila, where he also won the overall.
The 2017 Tour of Alberta starts September 1 with a 162km stage entirely within Jasper National Park. The stage finishes with a climb to Marmot Basin Ski Resort that should set up the GC pecking order for the rest of the week. Stage 2 is a relatively flat 139km test that starts and finishes in Spruce Grove, while stage 3 takes the peloton on a 116km out-and-back loop in Edmonton. The final day brings the traditional circuit race in the Edmonton city centre, a 141.1km course with multiple climbs on each of 11 laps.
De Vos and Canadian national champion Matteo Dal-Cin, who will be debuting his championship signifying maple jersey for the first time after being sidelined in July with a knee injury, will add more firepower to the team's general classification efforts.
"This is my first race back after my knee injury, so it will be a bit of a test in a race situation to see how it holds up," Dal-Cin said. "I am excited to race in the maple leaf jersey of national champion. The kit is beautiful, and it's motivating to wear it while training. It'll be an incredible experience getting to take the start for the first time in it, especially with the race being here in Canada."
The team will also be hunting daily stage wins, with 2016 stage winner Joyce and Jesse Anthony hoping to capitalise on opportunities throughout the week. The veteran Pate will act as captain on the road.
"We'll be bringing a well-balanced team to Alberta and are looking to close out the North American stage race season with a couple more wins," said Performance Manager Jonas Carney. "We have a solid group of guys to challenge for stages and the overall. We've had success here over the last few years, and we'll be aiming to continue the streak. Colin and Evan both had great races there last year, and guys like Rob and Sepp showed they are in great form in Utah and Colorado. The guys have been racing hard all year, but I know they have a few more wins in the legs."
Rally Cycling for Tour of Alberta: Jesse Anthony, Rob Britton, Matteo Dal-Cin, Adam de Vos, Evan Huffman, Colin Joyce, Sepp Kuss, Danny Pate.