Trek Factory Racing won the Tour of Alberta’s stage 1 team time trial by a fraction of a second over Orica-GreenEdge, putting Bauke Mollema into the race’s first leader’s jersey late on Wednesday.
“It was a little unexpected because we saw that Orica-GreenEdge had the fastest split by 12 seconds, and we didn’t think it would be so close at the end,” said Trek director Kim Andersen. “I knew that we had a good chance to win so I really tried to motivate the guys before the start. I think it also helped that we were third team to start because we could warm-up on the course, we did a full lap, full gas and didn’t even have to use rollers.”
The first stage was a 19.6km test around the City of Grande Prairie, which the Trek outfit completed in 22:56.88. Orica was .74 in arrears, and another WorldTour team, Katusha, rounded out the podium, 8.18 seconds back. Riders were faced with windy, chilly conditions on the flat course, and they were required to race standard road bikes.
Mollema, 28, of the Netherlands, is racing his first Tour of Alberta and may be able to defend his lead on Thursday, as stage 2 is a mostly flat affair around the County of Grande Prairie. The 172km day will, however, include three trips up a 1.5km climb in the finishing circuits.
“This was the first TTT win in my life,” said Mollema. “It was a big team effort, and everyone gave everything he had. It was not planned to lose three guys, the plan was to have eight when we finished, but in the past we have always started too slow.”