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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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2014 Tour of Alberta logo
Garmin-Sharp’s Rohan Dennis returns to defend his overall title
Organizers of the Tour of Alberta have released the official route details of this year's edition that is scheduled to run 850 km from south to north between September 2-7 in the Canadian province of Alberta. WorldTour team Garmin-Sharp has confirmed its attendance with the event's defending champion Rohan Dennis.
This year's UCI 2.1 race will begin with a prologue on September 2 in Calgary, the finishing city of last year's inaugural race. Stage 1 will host a new circuit race in Lethbridge followed by a point-to-point road race during Stage 2 that starts in Innisfail, a new host city, and concludes in Redeer. Stage 3 will start in Wetaskiwin, also a new host city, and conclude in Edmonton, where the event will remain for the final two stages. The penultimate Stage 4 will host a road race from Edmonton to Strathcona County. The six-day race will then conclude on September 7 with the Stage 5 circuit race in downtown Edmonton.
"The commitment by our host communities is special," said Duane Vienneau, the Tour of Alberta's executive director. "They are true partners in every sense of the word. Through their commitment, we will be able to stage a second and successful race."
The event's specific stage routes and distances will be announced soon.
The race is expected to attracted many of the top teams in the world. It is positioned after the USA Pro Challenge from August 18-24 in Colorado and ahead of the Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec and Montréal held on September 12 and 14 in the province of Quebec.
Garmin-Sharp will line up with a strong team at the starting prologue in Calgary with Dennis and Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal, the 2012 Giro d'Italia winner. Belkin Pro Cycling has also confirmed its attendance with Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema.
"I loved the Tour of Alberta last year," Dennis said. "It had plenty of challenges throughout the whole race and I think the fact that it was the inaugural Tour of Alberta made it all the more special to me. The race itself was organized perfectly. I am looking forward to being around the people of Alberta. I honestly could not believe how friendly everyone was. It's an important race for me and the team this year."
Organizers of the Tour of Alberta announced last week that they secured funding for three more years, allowing the race to run through 2016. Vienneau announced a new presenting sponsor today, ATB Financial, which was an official partner for last year’s event. The Government of Alberta and Alberta Tourism are again supporting the event.
2014 Tour of Alberta course summary:
Prologue / September 2 / Calgary (Time Trial)
Stage 1 / September 3 / Lethbridge (Circuit Race)
Stage 2 / September 4 / Innisfail to Red Deer (Road Race)
Stage 3 / September 5 / Wetaskiwin to Edmonton (Road Race)
Stage 4 / September 6 / Edmonton to Strathcona County (Road Race)
Stage 5 / September 7 / Edmonton (Circuit Race)