Garmin-Sharp aims to win Tour of Alberta

Organizers of the Tour of Alberta announced the provisional roster for the six-day race that starts in Calgary on September 2 and finishes in Edmonton on September 7. Five WorldTour teams will be on the start line but the race will be lacking its defending champion Rohan Dennis, who made a mid-season switch from Garmin-Sharp to BMC, and will be racing at the Vuelta a España instead.

The second edition of the race is expected to be flat, fast and riddled with crosswinds, and the parcours might better-suit some of the sprinters and more robust riders. Garmin-Sharp will still be looking to defend its title with riders like Ramanas Navardauskas and Tom-Jelte Slagter, says Tom Danielson, winner of the recent Tour of Utah.

“Our Garmin-Sharp team is loaded with talent and we’re looking forward to defending our title from last year,” said Danielson. “The Tour of Alberta fits a couple of our guys real nice like Ramunas and Slagter. I look forward to supporting those guys. Both are super talented. I’ve heard great things about Alberta, the race, and the fans up there, so, I’m pretty pumped.”

Also absent from the start list is Peter Sagan (Cannondale), who won three stages last year, but even without the marque sprinter the roster aligned will make for some top-notch racing.

There are a series of other decorated sprinters to watch and the opportunity for a stage win could be wide open for guys like Giant-Shimano’s Tom Dumoulin, who won a stage at the Eneco Tour and placed third overall, Orica-GreenEdge’s Matthew Goss and Cannondale’s Elia Viviani, among others.

The 120-rider field is also highlighted with strong overall contenders like Belkin’s Bauke Mollema, who finished 10th at the Tour de France and Steven Kruijswijk, who recently won the Arctic Race of Norway. Other talents include Danielson along with Davide Formolo and Davide Villella (Cannondale), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and all-rounder Dries Devenyns (Giant-Shimano).

Professional Continental and Continental domestic teams will be on the hunt to capture some end-of-season victories and podium finishes. Highlighting the roster are SmartStop’s US champion Eric Marcotte, UnitedHealthcare’s Philly Cycling Classic winner Kiel Reijnen, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies’ Eric Young, Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis’ Serghei Tvetcov, Hincapie Sports Development’s Toms Skujins and Bissel’s Tanner Putt.

Hugo Houle will lead the Canadian national team, and other Canadians in the mix will be Orica-GreenEdge’s Christian Meier, 5-Hour Energy’s Bruno Langlois and Michael Woods, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies’ sprinter Ryan Anderson and Will Routley. Silber Pro Cycling’s Ryan Roth will lead a nearly all Canadian squad, and SmartStop will field Zach Bell, Kris Dahl and Rob Britton, and Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis’ will start Nic Hamilton.

“The one thing this race has already proved is that Canada has a growing abundant of world-class talent,” said Tour of Alberta chairman Brian Jolly. “It will definitely be on display against the world’s best at this year’s event.”

Canada's team Garneau-Quebecor’s roster will be announced at a later date.

Preview the 2014 Tour of Alberta start list here.

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