Array

Array

Tour of Alberta gives exciting finish in Red Deer

The Tour of Alberta competitors were into the final loop of Thursday’s second stage and Swedish rider Jonas Ahlstrand wasn’t in any hurry to catch the front-runners. Until near the end, that is.

The Tour of Alberta competitors were into the final loop of Thursday’s second stage and Swedish rider Jonas Ahlstrand wasn’t in any hurry to catch the front-runners.

Until near the end, that is.

Ahlstrand, a member of the Giant Shimano team, turned it on with the Ross St. finish line in sight, broke away from a large pack of riders and edged Theo Bos of the Netherlands for the stage victory. The winning time was three hours, two minutes and 14 seconds.

“The speed was 80 kilometres an hour when I hit the hammer with 200 metres to go,” said the Swede. “I need to come from behind in such a sprint because you have a lot of advantage to go in the slipstream. My plan was to go to top of the (Ross St.) hill and then come from behind.”

A large number of the riders were closely bunched at the finish line of Stage 2, a 145-km jaunt which started at Innisfail, continued on to Sylvan Lake and Blackfalds, and then concluded following a trio of four-km circuits through Red Deer. Stage 1 winner Ruben Zepuntke of Germany, American rider Eric Young and Matej Mohoric of Slovakia rounded out the top five finishers.

Thomas Domoulin of the Netherlands, also with the Giant Shimano team, finished 28th but retained the yellow jersey as the general classification (GC) leader with an overall time of 6:26.3 after two stages and Monday’s prologue at Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park. Zepuntke sits second with a time of 6:23.32.

“At the end it was a perfect day, but it cost the team a lot of energy,” said Domoulin. “ I think a lot of guys suffered today. It was pretty hard in the first 100 kilometres and then it was kind of controlled after until maybe 40 km to go. It was a fast day.”

The field of 113 riders, for the most part, was bunched until five cyclists — Cameron Wurf of Austria, Kiel Reijnen, Robin Carpenter and James Stemper of the U.S., and British rider Simon Yates — broke away from the pack with roughly 40 km to go. The front-running contingent later featured as few as four and as many as seven riders and Reijnen, Yates, fellow American Ben King and Aurelien Passeron of France, who slipped well back to finish 111th, were out in front by themselves heading into Red Deer.

“It was never my intention to go in the breakaway, it wasn’t my job today,” said Reijnen of the United Health Care pro cycling team. “But after 100 km if the break doesn’t go then there’s a real chance. I was thinking about the GC, I didn’t need that many seconds to take the jersey. But there’s always a lot of other things in play so I took a risk. It didn’t work out, but I’m glad I tried.

“I think we were caught with three km to go and at that point it was just me, Simon and Ben. It didn’t get super tactical because we didn’t have time to play cat-and-mouse.”

Reijnen faded near the end to finish 43rd Thursday and sits 15th overall. He simply didn’t have a finishing kick after breaking away from the pack and admitted he harboured mixed emotions about joining the front-runners with 40 km remaining in the stage.

“If there wasn’t a break at the 100-km mark I could have stayed (with the main group),” he said. “I tried to put the finish out of my mind and focus on the GC, but I also thought that if it was a hard course at the finish — and it was hard to tell from the profile — that it wouldn’t be a full group coming across to us and I would still have a chance at the finish.

“If it wasn’t hard enough then there’s a lot of fast guys here anyway.”

Ryan Anderson of Edmonton, the top Canadian rider through two stages, finished 30th Thursday and sits fifth overall.

“The big, open roads made it hard to break away and go today,” he said. “We raced hard all day and the big roads didn’t make it any easier.”

Notes: The average speed of Stage 2 was 45.3 km/h . . . Yates was the first rider up the long, steep hill just east of Red Deer to take over in the King of the Mountain category . . . Garmin-Sharp leads the team competition with a total clocking of 19:20.11 . . . The Tour of Alberta resumes today with Stage 3 covering a route between Wetaskiwin and Edmonton. Stage 4 involves routes between Edmonton Northlands and Strathcona County and the fifth and final stage goes Sunday with an Edmonton circuit.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read