Wheels are in motion for the Town of Innisfail to welcome the best in the professional cycling world in September.
Town council gave the green light to hosting the Tour of Alberta’s start of the second stage while approving $20,000 and road closures for the competition on Monday.
Last week, the Tour of Alberta named the seven communities with hosting duties — Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Wetaskiwin, Strathcona County, Red Deer and Innisfail — from Sept. 2 to Sept. 7.
Riders will now start in Innisfail and likely finish the day in Red Deer on Sept. 4.
“I don’t think $20,000 is out of the picture for the exposure for both nationally and internationally for this,” said Innisfail Mayor Brian Spiller.
“Hopefully we can get the service groups, the chamber and the schools involved to make it a real community event.”
Spiller said they have lots of time to sort out the details but he anticipates it will be a huge celebration and send-off.
Red Deer city council will decide whether it will host the finishing stage at its May 12 meeting. Council will also be asked to foot a $100,000 bill, plus allow for road closures.
George Berry, Red Deer’s organizing committee chairman, said he is confident that council will welcome the tour after the good showing in 2013. The committee will also seek financial support from Red Deer County, Lacombe County and Sylvan Lake.
Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre said he is thrilled that the town could be part of the route. McIntyre said he would welcome the tour with open arms.
“I watched the festivities last year in Red Deer and it was really exciting to see,” said McIntyre. “I know Sylvan Lake’s portion of this race won’t be to that magnitude but I am still really excited that Sylvan Lake is going to be part of the route.”
The second edition of the Tour of Alberta changes directions, starting in Calgary with a prologue on Sept. 2 and ending in Edmonton on Sept. 7.