Tour Rolls Through Leduc , Wetaskiwin, Camrose
Front Picture, Five’s a crowd. Close formations were the order of the day as the Tour of Alberta passed by the skate park in Leduc. Tom Dirsa
Above Picture by Barry McDonald ‘Tour’ rolls through Wetaskiwin. Barry McDonald. Click on the lower picture for Tour of Alberta Promo Video.
The Pipestone Flyer
A hundred and seventeen cyclists from 20 different countries riding for 15 different teams competed in the first Tour of Alberta from September 3rd to September 8th. The Tour began in Edmonton with time trials and ended in Calgary. In total the riders covered 900 kilometers through central Alberta in five stages.
Stage Two was the longest at 185 kilometers and wound its way through Devon, Leduc, Millet, Wetaskiwin, Hobbema, and Ponoka before tackling the hills around Red Deer.
The cyclists arrived in Leduc shortly before noon coming down Highway 39 then turned into Lakeside Estates and followed Black Gold Drive turning south on 50th Street and then on to Highway 2A heading for Millet. The City established four designated spectator areas at Aileen Park, the corner of 50th Street, Leduc Comp, and Corinthia Park.
Schools along the path took advantage of the event and had their students observe the cyclists with many of them holding home made signs cheering on the competitors.
Spectators were able to see some of the best cyclists in the world speed on by. Many of the observers were surprised by how quickly the riders were going and how closely packed they were as they flew by on their way to Red Deer. The cyclists reached speeds of 55 to 60 kms per hour exceeding the normal speed of 45 to 50 kms for a road race. Silvan Diller, a young 23-year-old rider from Switzerland, won Stage Two.
Among the cyclists were 2011’s Tour of France winner Cadel Evans, Canada’s superstar Ryder Hesjedal, winner of the 2012 Tour of Italy, and Peter Sagan the current #2 ranked rider in the world. Sagan established himself as the rider to beat as he won the time trial and Stage One and was wearing the yellow jersey as he sped through Leduc.
The Pipestone Flyer
You may have missed it. Either you had something you felt was much more important to do between 12:22 pm and 12:29 pm on September 5th in Wetaskiwin, or you blinked your eyes. Either way, you missed a small portion of an exciting event that happened in Alberta from September 3rd to September 8th, 2013; the Tour of Alberta race. On day 3 and Stage 2 of the race, approximately one hundred and twenty professional cycling racers departed from downtown Devon and zipped through Calmar, Leduc, Millet, Wetaskiwin and Ponoka and ended Stage 2 in Red Deer.
Stage 2 was 175 km (108 miles)of the six-stage race, starting in Edmonton on Tuesday, September 3 and ending in Calgary on Sunday, September 8th. The approximate total distance of the Tour was over 850 kilometers (530 miles). During Stage 1 of the 158 km race from Strathcona County to Camrose, racers clocked an average speed of 46.9 km per hour.
It was fast. It only took the athletes approximately 7 minutes to go from the corner of 2A and Highway 13 and following 50th street along the railway tracks, onto 40th Avenue west and returning back to Highway 2A. Hundreds of spectators that were lined up along the route were treated to an exciting world class competition and event.
Many people chose to watch the ‘sprint’ portion of the race which took place along 50th street between 50 –51st Avenue. During each Stage of the race, organizers designate a location where bonus points are given to the first three riders who cross the sprint line. Wetaskiwin and Ponoka were chosen for sprints in Stage 2. Being a sprint location meant increased media exposure for the City and a more exciting experience for spectators.
During each stage of the race winners are awarded appropriately colored jerseys representing each of the following categories: Province of Alberta Race Leader (yellow), Subway Sprint Points Leader (green), Budweiser Crown King of the Mountain (red polka dots), Canadian Western Bank Best Young Rider (white), Best Canadian (red) and Most Aggressive (blue).
Teams competing were from the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, United States and China.
As the cyclists and the entourage quickly disappeared into the distance, the crowd milled about, had another hot dog, hamburger or ice cream float and shared in disbelief that ‘it happened so fast’. But, the most common word used was ‘exciting’.
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