Today is the big Edmonton circuit for the Tour of Alberta. Two times in and out of our river valley. 11 laps of an 11 km route. We are pumped. Regardless of the light rain we expect the turnout here will be better than elsewhere in the province.
We are not disappointed. The people are out in droves, the race is exciting, and the Bellamy Hill climb is tough. Three of those climbs are for King of the Mountain points. The race for the KOM jersey is fought by Simon Yates (Orica-Greenedge) and Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team). Yates beats out Carpenter eventually winning the Polka Dot Jersey.
We wander the course from Bellamy Hill to 107 St where the racers cross twice in a lap where we meet up with swim buddies and tri buddies and cycling buddies. The Edmonton athletes are out to support this great race.
From 107 St we scurry towards the finish line area catching a glimpse of the racers on lap 9. At the finish we join the masses along the orange fences and cheer the racers as they complete their last two laps. It is always amazing to see how fast they rush past. There is definitely excitement in the air with everyone ringing their bells, clapping their clappers and cheering loudly.
The finish is a mad sprint of a whittled down pack of 30. Daryl Impey wins the stage and gathers a time bonus enough to push Tom Dumoulin out of the number one spot of the GC.
We stop and chat with Thomas, the Hincapie Team Manager (we think), who we chatted with in the Tim Horton’s on the way to Lethbridge. I ask him how the team did and he says they did well but the riders don’t have the depth of the European team riders. But, after all they are a development team and this is what they are all about. Nice fellow. Their season is over but he says they will be back next year.
Murray runs into Oran one last time and J, Oran’s navigator, and we look forward to seeing them again next year.
It has been a great Tour of Alberta. It will feel odd not getting up tomorrow and driving to a spot on some highway to watch a group of spandex clad cyclists swoosh by. Until next year.