Organisers of the Tour of Alberta have announced the eight host cities for the fourth annual event, which will run September 1-5. This year’s event will focus on the southern to central portion of the Canadian province, with the race kicking off in Lethbridge and ending in Edmonton. Organisers also confirmed that defending champions Trek-Segafredo, the team of Canadian Ryder Hesjedal, will compete in this year's race. Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) won the 2015 Tour of Alberta.
The racing will start in Lethbridge located south of Calgary and just above the boarder to Montana, near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The city hosted a stage in the 2014 edition of the race with a hilly circuit race won by Ruben Zepuntke.
The racing will continue with stage 2 beginning in Kananaskis, which is located in the foothills on the Rocky Mountians just below popular mountain destinations Banff and Canmore. Organisers have not confirmed if the race will include the bigger mountains like it did in last year in Jasper National Park. If mountains are included in the parcours this year, Banff and Canmore would be prime locations. The stage will head through Mountain View County and finish in Olds.
Stage 3 will head north starting in Rocky Mountain House in partnership with Clearwater County. The peloton will then travel up ‘Cowboy Trail’ to its finish destination, formerly known as Powerhouse, the quaint town of Drayton Valley.
The final two stages will happen in Edmonton with stage 4 taking place in Hawrelak Park. The site will be shared between the Tour of Alberta and the ITU World Triathlon Championships.
The Tour of Alberta will conclude in Edmonton on stage 5 at Churchill Square for a circuit race that includes 11 climbs over Bellamy Hill. The circuit was also used in the 2014 Tour of Alberta where Orica-GreenEdge’s Dary Impey won the overall title.
“Our host communities are really an integral part of the success of the event,” said Duane Vienneau, CEO of the Tour of Alberta presented by ATB Financial. “We truly have a lineup of world-class host communities. We are so grateful for the hard work communities do at the local level to help make this elite international event a success.”
Last year, Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing), who led the race for five of the six stages, won the overall title at the 2015 Tour of Alberta. He finished the race with a six-second advantage over Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) and 22 seconds over double stage winner Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin).
Additonal course details such as exact routes, maps and profiles will be released at a later date.
2016 Tour of Alberta host cities
Thursday, September 1: Stage 1 Lethbridge
Friday, September 2: Stage 2 Kananaskis to Olds in partnership with Mountain View County
Saturday, September 3: Stage 3 Rocky Mountain House in partnership with Clearwater County to Drayton Valley
Sunday, September 4: Stage 4 Edmonton
Monday, September 5: Stage 5 Edmonton