Road

Orica, Giant, Katusha, Cannondale confirmed for Tour of Alberta

Four WorldTour teams confirmed for the Canadian stage race which is looking more and more like a tune-up for world championships in Richmond

EDMONTON, Alberta — Four WorldTour teams and a Pro Continental outfit have been confirmed for the 2015 Tour of Alberta, scheduled for September 2-7. Australia’s Orica-GreenEdge will return to Alberta, having won the race in 2014 with Daryl Impey. Germany’s Giant-Alpecin, Russia’s Katusha, and U.S.-based Cannondale-Garmin will round out the line-up of four teams from the top tier of the sport. Australian Pro Continental squad Drapac was also confirmed for the race.

“With the UCI road world championships being held in North America only two weeks after our race, the most elite teams see The Tour of Alberta presented by ATB Financial as their last chance to prepare,” said the race’s executive director Duane Vienneau. “The addition of the team time trial and our two-day stop in the Canadian Rockies has definitely contributed to the hype amongst teams this year. We are going to have an unbelievable caliber of teams. All of this makes the 2015 our a great year for fans of the sport.”

Impey won last year’s race in thrilling fashion, claiming victory on the final stage by merely one second ahead of Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).

“Last year we where close to winning the Tour of Alberta and that has only made us more motivated to chase victory this year again,” said Giant-Alpecin director Aike Visbeek. “We will be sending a strong team. It will be interesting to see how the new course will influence the race. The riders are very motivated to race again in Alberta.”

For the first time, Russia’s Katusha team will race in Alberta.

“Team Katusha looks forward to racing the Tour of Alberta in September,” said Katusha general manager Viatcheslav Ekimov. “We plan to bring a competitive team who will be excited to race in front of our North American fans. It’s especially important to support these younger races that are still growing in stature, and we always want to honor the great sponsors that step up financially for our sport. I know last year there was a big audience of viewers, and I’m sure this year will be even better. We’re especially anxious to take part in the team time trial for stage 1 since it’s only a few weeks from the TTT in the worlds.”

The course will feature a team time trial to start the race in the overall start city of Grand Prairie. It has become a big draw for teams preparing for the trade team race at UCI world championships, September 20 in Richmond, Virginia.

Drapac, Australia’s second major team behind Orica, will make its first appearance in the Tour of Alberta.

“The Tour of Alberta will be a key event for our team this season,” said Drapac sport director Tom Southam. “Alberta is a significant race for us, as it will allow our riders to once again to race against some of the best in the world, while maintaining our focus on the North American cycling calendar for 2015. We will have competed in some big events and we expect the team to be highly competitive throughout the year. We will bring a diverse roster to Alberta and will be looking to showcase our sprint team for stages wins.”

Also announced was the site of stage 3, Miette Hot Springs, a major tourist attraction famed as the hottest-known springs in the Canadian Rockies. The site of the stage 3 finish on Friday, September 4, will be the first mountain-top finish in the three-year history of Tour of Alberta.