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Pieter Weening (Orica GreenEDGE) compares riding in the winds of Holland to what we may see this week.
Belkin field strong team for Canadian stage ace
Weening leads the Orica-GreenEdge team along with Cameron Meyer and is targeting the final podium.
“When I came to this race and saw the profile, I thought, ah, it's not really hard,” Weening said. “But yesterday we went out on the bike and saw a lot of crosswinds. And I was born in a crosswind. So this is going to be a hard race."
“If there are a lot of winds it's always stressful and you always have to fight for a place,” Weening said. “If you want to be good here at this race and there is a crosswind, you have to fight for it. If you fall asleep and end up in the back of the bunch your race can be over in 20 seconds.”
Weeing's fellow countryman Robert Gesink (Belkin) said he is also expecting a difficult race despite the loss of the only real climbing stage. The Dutch WorldTour team also has Mark Renshaw and Tom-Jelte Slagter in its line-up.
Gesink, the 2012 Tour of California winner, has plenty of experience performing well in Canada; he won the WorldTour race in Montreal in 2010 and was third that year in the Quebec WorldTour race. He finished second in Quebec in 2011.
“It always feel good over here, and I've gotten some of my best results,” he said.
“After the Tour [de France] I was pretty tired. Myself and my girlfriend flew into L.A. Then we drove all the way up to Boulder. We saw all the national parks, and of course we didn't want to miss out on one of the most beautiful parks here in Banff, so we spent two nights there. So we enjoyed a nice drive, of course training all the way.”
Before the Dutch riders get their opportunity to make the Tour of Alberta tough along the windswept farmlands leading to the finish in Calgary, anyone with general classification hopes will need to perform well during the 7.3km prologue through the streets of downtown Edmonton.
“It's important, obviously,” Weening said. “A race like this can be decided by one or two seconds. I think a lot of it will be decided in the prologue. I think if you get 10 seconds you can make the [final] GC.”