By Eric Mathison, September 11 2014 —
After six days and 737.8 kilometres, the general classification for this year’s Tour of Alberta came down to one second.
Daryl Impey, a South African cyclist for team Orica Greenedge, took the win, displacing last year’s victor, Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Shimano). He won the tour’s final stage in Edmonton on Sunday, Sept. 7. The win gave Impey a 10-second time bonus. Dumoulin had been in the lead since the first day of racing, starting at Canada Olympic Park on Sept. 2.
Entering the second year of the Tour of Alberta, some of the stars who raced in 2013 were missing in this year’s race, including Cadel Evans (winner of the 2011 Tour de France) and points classification winner, Peter Sagan (which rewards the best sprinter at the Tour de France in 2012, 2013 and 2014).
More significantly, no top-Canadian riders took part. The most notable absentee, Canadian was Ryder Hesjedal, the only Canadian to win a Grand Tour and the closest thing our country has to a household name in cycling.
However, Canadian Ryan Anderson (Optum Pro Cycling) improved on his seventh-place finish in last year’s race to place fifth overall this year, 11 seconds behind Impey. Anderson once again won Best Canadian Rider. His best stage result was second place, which he achieved at the final stage in Edmonton.
Despite the absence of top names, spectators of Calgary’s stage were excited.
“It’s so great to see some of the sport’s top teams riding a hill I’ve raced up myself,” said Skyler Burrell, referring to the 4-kilometre time trial route which included the road to the top of COP.
For other spectators, the race was an opportunity to see the sport up close.
“I’ve watched races on television before, but this was my first time seeing one live,” Amie Cannon said. “It’s great how close we can get to the riders as they warm up and race.”