Tanner Putt, First Career Win – Tour of Alberta Stage 2
Tanner Putt of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team took his first career win on Friday’s stage 2 of the Tour of Alberta. The rain soaked and wind battered stage was a true test for each of the finishers in Canada’s biggest race, but Putt held off a charging field to cross the line in first place.
The UCI 2.1 category race is the most prestigious in Canada, forming the perfect platform for the Utah Native’s first career professional victory.
Putt initiated an early move on the mainly undulating 182-km stage from Kananaskis to Olds. After riding solo off the front for over 10 km, Putt was joined by two riders, who then worked together to build their gap. The move was given a long leash by a pack that was suffering in the cold and wind. Team Director Hendrik Redant could see the move had potential to stay away until the finish, and instructed Putt to stick with it as long as possible, “We could see the main field was unmotivated to work all day. Tanner did great keeping the pace high and not slowing down into the final 3 km. A great victory for Tanner. He got what he deserved after such a hard day!”
While riders in the main field went back to their team cars for rain jackets, extra gloves and leg warmers, Putt dug in, never looking troubled by the weather that was plaguing the rest of the field. Coming into the finish, Putt was left with Alexis Cartier of the Canadian National Team. With a peloton bearing down on the duo, they couldn’t succumb to cat and mouse tactics without getting caught. Putt dug deep on a couple of occasions to distance his competitor, but Cartier fought back. It was left down to one final move with 300 meters to go, and when Tanner Putt jumped, it was decisive. Cartier could not respond, allowing Putt to sprint to the finish and celebrate his first career victory.
After Putt had warmed up from the extended ride in the cold weather, he recounted the tense final kilometer of racing, “I hit it going into 1km to go and then sat back up again and kind of forced Cartier to take the lead. I knew I could take it from 250-300m, and I just waited until then and hit out.”
“The UnitedHealthcare Team have been so supportive throughout the last couple of years. I’m really proud to take the win here and get to stand on the top of the podium.”
The Tour of Alberta continues on Saturday with a sprinter friendly Stage 3. The 181.2-km race starts on the plains, giving great views across Alberta’s biggest mountains in Banff and Jasper National Parks. The majority downhill stage finishes in Drayton Valley, where a short climb might seperate the pack before three finishing circuits. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will look to protect Daniel Eaton, currently sitting eighth overall, 15 seconds behind the lead. The finishing circuits in the centre of Drayton will also provide the perfect opportunity to set John Murphy up for the sprint.