Tour of Alberta Red Deer stop will be a festival

Plans are taking shape for when some of the best in the cycling world make a pit stop in Red Deer.

Plans are taking shape for when some of the best in the cycling world make a pit stop in Red Deer.

Local organizers have been ironing out the details since Red Deer was named the Tour of Alberta third stage finishing host community last week.

The inaugural five-stage international pro cycling competition begins on Sept. 3 in Edmonton and wraps up on Sept. 8 in Calgary. Cyclists will race from Devon to Red Deer on Sept. 5.

George Berry, chairman of the local Tour of Alberta organizing committee, said there was a walk-through of the proposed city route last week.

In early April, the detailed 865-kilometre route including the finish route through Red Deer will be officially announced.

But Berry said the top-notch cyclists will be speeding down Ross Street to the finish.

“This is more than a race,” said Berry.

“It’s an entire day festival.”

All 11 host communities will put on a festival that highlights the character of the town or city.

Red Deer’s festival gets underway about 11 a.m. Berry said they would like to get the whole community involved in the festival either as a volunteer or a spectator.

Berry said the event will be a huge undertaking and roughly 300 volunteers will be needed. The volunteers will do everything from stand on corners to picking up rubbish after the festival.

“Good response so far with people stepping up to volunteer,” said Berry. “It’s amazing how people will track you down.”

Berry said people will not have to buy a ticket to see some of the best cyclists in the world. The cyclists are expected to arrive around 3:30 p.m. The teams are expected to be announced by August.

In the coming days, the Alberta Peloton Association will have set up Facebook and Twitter accounts for the host communities.

To volunteer, email georgeb@berryarchitecture.ca or 403-314-4461.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com