Sprint Squad to Tour of Alberta for Five Day Race
The Tour of Alberta is the highest ranked stage race in Canada, attracting the World’s best teams to compete on some of the most challenging terrain. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will be racing to win in Alberta. With a line up of fast finishers and work-horse domestiques, the team will aim to take on the race on the opening day, where a flat finish plays into the hands of team veteran John Murphy and Utah Native Tanner Putt. The team has raced the Tour of Alberta for the last two seasons, and comes to the race with the familiarity and experience needed to make a success of the five days of racing.
Rachel Heal will direct the UnitedHealthcare pro Cycling team on the ground in Canada, “I’m excited for the race. Our team has great experience in these shorter stage races. A couple stages have crit-like finishes, which will play into our hands again. We’ll race aggressively, and look to insert ourselves into moves and breakaways wherever possible. The energy in the team is really positive, and I’m looking forward to the start.”
2016 Tour of Alberta Roster
- Matthew Busche
- Marco Canola
- Daniel Eaton
- John Murphy
- Danny Summerhill
- Chris Jones
- Jonny Clarke
- Tanner Putt
The race opens with a spectator friendly circuit race in the southern Alberta community of Lethbridge. The 66.4-mile race is the perfect kick off for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, who will use their criterium expertise to exert their influence on the event. The course is mainly flat, allowing the sprint teams to come to the fore. With very few stage races opening on a sprint stage, there will be many fast finishers looking to find themselves in the lead jersey at the end of the day. The team has options in terms of who lines up for the first sprint. John Murphy’s sprinting prowess needs no introduction in North America, but the team also has backups in the form of Tanner Putt and Marco Canola. Canola can hang with the fastest guys even when the race pitches up, so will be one to watch as the race progresses.
The race then moves towards the mountains with the 113.1 mile road race from Kananaskis to the town of Olds. The run in to Olds is majority downhill, again a great opportunity for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team to come to the fore. With likely breakaways on today’s stage, it will be down to the Blue Train to monitor the moves and ensure they can deliver the sprinters to the line to contest the finish. Matthew Busche and Johnny Clarke both excel on the climbs, and will be able to cover any moves that may arise during the race.
Another flatter stage for the third day of racing takes the peloton from Rocky Mountain House to Drayton Valley, over 181.2km. The lead out train will be on duty today, with Danny Summerhill and Daniel Eaton shouldering the burden of keeping the sprinters in contention no matter what happens during the day. A short steep climb into the finish town leads to the final KOM of the day and three finishing circuits. This climb may be decisive, and riders like Canola will look to take advantage here. If Murphy and the other sprinters can make it up the final climb in front, we could see another bunch sprint.
Daniel Eaton will look to capitalise on the Stage 4 Individual Time Trial in Edmonton. At just 12.1km, this short but painful day of racing will cause some time gaps that may be decisive in the race overall.
The race finishes with the Edmonton Circuit Race, a 124.1km undulating course through the second biggest city in Edmonton. The entire UnitedHealthcare team will be on duty on this final stage to ensure the sprinters have a shot at coming across the line first.
WATCH ONLINE! The Tour of Alberta will be free to stream online through the Tour Tracker website. With live commentary each day, and easy to follow graphics, the Tour of Alberta is among the best races to watch as a spectator. The racing will begin on Friday September 2nd.