May 03, 2013 (Strathcona County) – Some of the world’s top professional cyclists will soon be racing close to 900-kilometres across Alberta, from the streets of its capital city, Edmonton, through the province’s heartland, across prairies, badlands and majestic Rocky Mountains to a fast-paced finish circuit in the streets of Calgary in the first and largest stage race ever held in Canada — the Tour of Alberta, September 3 to 8, 2013.
The organizers of the Tour of Alberta, the Alberta Peloton Association (APA) unveiled the official stages and route that will connect 11 communities and pass though over a dozen more, for when the eyes of the world of professional cycling focuses on Alberta this fall.
“As a former professional cyclist, I am excited to announce the official route for Canada’s first major stage race, and can’t wait to see some of the pros from the Tour de France racing across Alberta,” said Brian Jolly, Chair of the APA and Tour of Alberta. “Working with our host communities, Alberta Transportation, the RCMP, provincial sheriffs and others, our Technical Director, Jeff Corbett, has done a great job on designing a world class course.”
“The prologue and the five stages for the 2013 Tour of Alberta really showcase some unique and diverse areas of Alberta that many people who have not seen or been to the province will be surprised to see,” said Duane Vienneau, Executive Director of the Tour of Alberta. “Cycling fans will appreciate both the fast sprints across wide open prairies, as well as some challenging climbs in the Rockies, and at the same time, people from around the world will get to see some amazing scenery and embrace Alberta western hospitality.”
“The Alberta Government is pleased and proud to partner with Tour of Alberta organizers to showcase all the best that Alberta has to offer the world, seen by bike along our provincial highways and byways,” said Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation. “We are working closely with Tour organizers to plan a world-class route through our province that will be safe for cyclists, spectators and motorists.”
As the first pro cycling race of its kind to be held in Canada, the Tour of Alberta is expected to attract significant international attention, and include top professional teams from around the world, including Tour de France competitors and world champions.
Highlights of the route for the 2013 Tour of Alberta include:
Prologue – Capital Start
Tuesday, September 3 – Edmonton
Start/Finish Location: Sir Winston Churchill Square (99 Street and 102A Avenue)
Distance: 7.3 kilometres
The Tour of Alberta will begin with a Prologue to showcase the racers with a one at a time individual time trial through Alberta’s capital city, where racers fight for seconds for the right to wear the first ever Tour of Alberta leader’s jersey. Starting and finishing at Sir Winston Churchill Square in the heart of downtown Edmonton, this eight-kilometre course will be covered by the individual cyclists in less than 10 minutes. However, those 10 minutes will be action-packed as spectators will see racers navigate tight neighborhoods, bomb down Grierson Hill at 80-kilometres-an-hour, or fight their way up the climb from the North Saskatchewan river valley through the Alberta Legislature grounds back to downtown. The man who conquers all will be the first to etch his name in Tour of Alberta history.
Stage 1 – Heartland Highways
Wednesday, September 4 –Strathcona County to Camrose
Start Location: Festival Place (100 Festival Way)
Distance: 158 kilometres
Finish Location: Recreation Centre (5212 53 Street)
The first road stage of the Tour of Alberta will fittingly begin at Festival Place in Sherwood Park, as the event itself is a celebration of all of Alberta. After a neutral parade start, the race blasts north through the Strathcona suburbs to make a quick visit to the City of Fort Saskatchewan. From there racers curl south to Ardrossan and the scenic lake district, where they skirt the edge of beautiful Miquelon Lake Provincial Park. The day’s real challenge will lay in the tight, twisting, and rolling finishing circuits in Camrose. Here the Recreation Centre will play host to three laps of this circuit and while the town will provide the hospitality, the circuit and its uphill finish will provide the worthy victory.
Stage 2 – Country Roads
Thursday, September 5 — Devon to Red Deer
Start Location: Downtown (Athabasca Avenue between Erie and Huron Streets)
Distance: 175 kilometres
Finish Location: 50th Street, between 47 and 48 Avenue
Stage 2 – Country Roads begins in “Bike Town Alberta” — Devon. This cycling friendly town has seen many races and rides, but this may top them all. That’s just the beginning, and with nearly a half dozen communities along this 175-kilometre stage, this really is a tour of Alberta. Stage 2 brings the race to the people, as the race will pass by homes, business and farms and properties of thousands of Albertans. From Leduc to Millet, Wetaskiwin, Hobbema and Ponoka, following this lightning-speed tour of towns the racing turns serious as it approaches the City of Red Deer. A sharp climb up from the Red Deer River east of town will surely open the hostilities. Then it’s on to another tough finishing circuit. This time each of the three laps includes a 30-metre climb, and an 80-kilometres-per-hour downhill to the finish. It’s going to take legs and nerves to win in Red Deer.
Stage 3 – Dinosaur Trails
Friday, September 6 — Strathmore to Drumheller
Start Location: Downtown, 2nd Avenue between and 3 Street and Lakeside Boulevard
Distance: 169 kilometres
Finish Location: Riverside Drive and Centre Street
Strathmore is quintessential small town Alberta, from the quaint main street to the park bandshell, but Stage 3 of the Tour of Alberta is anything but small. The flatlands are left behind as the race deepens its hunt for an overall victor. Strathmore’s plains quickly give way to some serious rolling hills as the race heads east then north through the community of Rosebud. Then it’s back to the banks of the Red Deer River in the heart of the Badlands – the Town of Drumheller. The river bluffs will provide more than great views and fossils on this day. These steep grades will be the launch pads to victory for the race’s best climbers. Drumheller fans get a front row seat for this action and a rare treat as the race will pass through town before doing a large loop north and back into town for a fast finish right under the world’s largest dinosaur. Look for this first day of serious hills to really shake up the race standings.
Stage 4 – Racing the Rockies (Queen Stage)
Saturday, September 7 – Black Diamond to Canmore
Start Location: Oilfields High School (3rd Street between 3rd and 5th Avenue)
Distance: 200 kilometres
Finish Location: Canmore Nordic Centre (1988 Olympic Way)
Small town charm meets Olympic glory on the Tour of Alberta’s most challenging stage. Rolling south out of the quiet streets of the Town of Black Diamond the plains hide what this stage is all about — altitude. This won’t be a secret for long though as the race begins the endless climb up Highway 40 to the Highwood Pass. It may not be the steepest climb in bike racing, but it is a climb of attrition, and after 50-kilometres of uphill, this race may be over for some. But what goes up must come down, and another 50-kilometre of downhill may get this party started all over again. Either way, the chase up the valley into Canmore should be exciting, but the real fireworks come in the last few kilometres as the racers fight to the finish above town at the Canmore Nordic Centre. With 200 kilometers, the Highwood Pass, Nordic Centre, and thin air, all in about five hours, it should be fun … to watch.
Stage 5 – Urban Finish
Sunday, September 8 – Okotoks to Calgary
Start Location: Seaman Stadium (2111 N. Railway Street)
Distance: 132 kilometres
Finish Location: Downtown Calgary (Centre Street and 4th Avenue)
Small town or suburb, the Town of Okotoks is both, and Seaman Stadium, Home of the Dawgs, will see the racers off for their final start. At the other end, skyscrapers and skywalks await the grand finale in downtown Calgary. The hill country west of Okotoks gives one final chance for those less affected by gravity, but chances are this day will belong to the daredevil sprinters. Through the community of Bragg Creek and a flat run into the city the speeds will slowly build up. They should reach fever pitch along Memorial Drive before crossing the Bow River and hitting the downtown finish circuit. Four laps await the racers and they will blaze a path around downtown putting on one final show for the crowd. The encore? A 60-kilometre shoulder-to-shoulder sprint in the shadow of Calgary Tower will determine the Tour of Alberta’s first ever champion.
The news conference to announce the Tour of Alberta route was held in the community where the stage race will start on September 4 — Strathcona County.
“Strathcona County looks forward to welcoming the world to our backyard as the starting point for this world-class elite pro-cycling event,” says Strathcona Mayor Linda Osinchuk. “This marks a year of celebration in Strathcona County, and this event, which showcases active living, determination and can-do spirit inspires and excites our community. We are thrilled to mark the start of a six day race that highlights the scenic jewels of the province and especially all aspects of the County, including the Alberta Industrial Heartland and Beaver Hills moraine.”
Official Stage maps and more information on the Tour of Alberta can be found HERE. <>www.tourofalberta.ca. Follow the Tour of Alberta on Twitter @TourofAlberta or on Facebook at TourofAlberta.
Garmin-Sharp, the team of Canadian superstar cyclist and winner of the 2012 Giro D’Italia Ryder Hesjedal is the first professional team confirmed to participate in Canada’s first international professional cycling stage race, the Tour of Alberta, scheduled to be held September 3 to 8, 2013.
About the Tour of Alberta
The Tour of Alberta: Canada’s Pro-Cycling Festival is a six-day stage race scheduled to be held September 3 to 8, 2013. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), cycling’s governing body, awarded the inaugural Tour of Alberta with a 2.1 sanctioning in September 2012, making it one of the highest level pro cycling events in Canada, and one of the highest level events in North America. An annual event beginning in 2013, the Tour of Alberta will feature up to 15 professional, international cycling teams, comprised of eight riders per team. The event will be broadcast live daily in Canada on Sportsnet, and broadcast internationally on various networks, as it is expected that the event will host riders from over 20 countries around the world.