Australian Rohan Dennis of Team Garmin-Sharp captured the inaugural Tour of Alberta overall title today in front of massive crowds in downtown Calgary, finishing the six-day stage race with an aggregate time of 17 hours, 45 minutes and 40 seconds. American Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing finished second overall and Italian Damiano Caruso of Cannondale Pro Cycling rounded out the podium.
Sunday’s final stage took the elite professional field of 115 cyclists from Okotoks into the centre city of Calgary, Alberta’s largest city. The 130-kilometre course was filled with cycling fans; tens of thousands spectators lined up ten deep along the 4-kilometre circuit in downtown Calgary for the final stage. Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, who won the Prologue in Edmonton last Tuesday and the following day’s stage, outsprinted the field to capture the final stage.
“I came into this race in pretty good form,” said the 23-year-old Dennis. “I really didn’t know how it would play out throughout the week. I guess it played out well. So, I’m a little surprised. It’s the biggest win of my pro career.”
It was Dennis’ first major stage race victory. He took the overall lead on Stage 3 Friday into Drumheller. He held off the top racers on the hilly stage to Black Diamond and maintained his lead all the way into Calgary Sunday.
As expected, Sagan was a big threat the entire race and entered the race as overall favorite until he lost the race lead in the cross winds of rural Alberta. Sagan, who has won more races than anyone on the international professional circuit this year, won three stages. Late last month, he had won four stages at the USA Pro Challenge.
“This was a very good race for its first year. The crowds were very big and enthusiastic,” Sagan said, adding with a smile: “I never knew their were so many Slovaks in Canada.”
The 900-kilometre race was greeted with large flag-waving crowds throughout the six days in Alberta. The race began in the centre city of Edmonton on Tuesday and crowds continued to grow during the entire route.
Outside the three stage wins by the world’s No. 2-ranked Sagan, the other stages were won by Swissman Sylvan Dillier of BMC Racing, Dennis, and 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.
“This was a very nice race,” said Evans. “The weather was great. The crowds were large and enthusiastic. The racing was actually quite good. For a first year event, it was incredibly well organized. We’ll see, but, sure, I’d like to come back next year.”
Two years in the making, the province of Alberta celebrated cycling throughout the week from roadside picnics to finish line gatherings, making Canada’s highest-ranked stage race look to the future with great hope.
“It was a spectacular week of racing,” said the Tour of Alberta chairman Brian Jolly. “There were many who doubted we could do an event of this caliber in the province of Alberta. With the support of all our partners, we not only met, but far exceeded all expectations. We now will review and work toward continuing the event for future years.
The final race jerseys: Province of Alberta Leader Jersey and Canadian Western Bank Best Young Rider, Rohan Dennis of Team Garmin-Sharp; SUBWAY® Sprint Points Jersey, Peter Sagan of Cannondale Pro Cycling; Budweiser Crown King of the Mountains Jersey, Tom Jelte Slagter of Belkin Pro Cycling; Best Canadian Rider, Ryan Anderson of Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies; and Most Aggressive Rider, Adam Farabaugh of Equipe Garneau-Quebecor.
Stage 5 Results: Okotoks to Calgary – 129.4 km road race
1. Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling), Slovakia, 2 hours, 42 minutes, 20 seconds
2. Luka Mezgec (Team Argos-Shimano), Slovenia, s.t.
3. Robert Forster (United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team), Germany, s.t.
4. Luke Keough (United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team), United States, s.t.
5. Nicholai Brochner (Bissell Pro Cycling), Denmark, s.t.
6. Charles Huff (Jelly Belly P/B Kenda), United States, s.t.
7. Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team), United States, s.t.
8. Ryan Anderson (Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies), Canada, s.t.
9. Tomas Vaitkus (Orica GreenEDGE), Lithuania, s.t.
10. Pierrick Naud (Equipe Garneau-Quebecor), Canada, s.t.
Final Overall Standings (after Stage 5)
1. Rohan Dennis (Team Garmin-Sharp), Australia, 17 hours, 48 minutes, 40 seconds
2. Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team), United States, 17 hours, 48 minutes, 58 seconds
3. Damiano Caruso (Cannondale Pro Cycling), Italy, 17 hours, 49 minutes, 10 seconds
4. Patrick Gretsch (Team Argos-Shimano), Germany, 17 hours, 49 minutes, 11 seconds
5. Robert Gesink (Belkin Pro Cycling Team), Netherlands, 17 hours, 49 minutes, 21 seconds
6. Robert Sweeting (5-Hour Energy P/B Kenda Racing Team) United States, 17 hours, 49 minutes, 34 seconds
7. Francisco Mancebo (5-Hour Energy P/B Kenda Racing Team) Spain, 17 hours, 49 minutes, 35 seconds
8. Ryan Anderson (Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies), Canada, 17 hours, 49 minutes, 36 seconds
9. Matthias Friedemann (Champion System Pro Cycling Team), Germany, 17 hours, 49 minutes, 59 seconds
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Belkin Pro Cycling Team), Netherlands, 17 hours, 50 minutes, 02 seconds
Yellow Jersey (Province of Alberta Leader Jersey)
Rohan Dennis (Team Garmin-Sharp), Australia
Green Jersey (Subway® Sprint Points Jersey)
Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling), Slovakia
Polka Dot Jersey (Budweiser Crown King of the Mountains Jersey)
Tom Jelte Slagter (Belkin Pro Cycling Team), Netherlands
White Jersey (Canadian Western Bank Best Young Rider)
Rohan Dennis (Team Garmin-Sharp), Australia
Maple Leaf (Best Canadian Rider)
Ryan Anderson (Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies), Canada
Blue Jersey (Most Aggressive Rider)
Adam Farabaugh (Equipe Garneau-Quebecor), United States
More information on the Tour of Alberta can be found at www.tourofalberta.ca. Follow the Tour of Alberta on Twitter @TourofAlberta or on Facebook at TourofAlberta.
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 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.
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