Red Deer misses spot in this year’s Tour of Alberta

The Tour of Alberta will head north this year leaving Red Deer out as a host community for the event.

From Sept. 2 – 7, the Tour of Alberta, presented by ATB Financial, will make stops through seven official host communities this year, with support from the Municipal District of Greenview and Parks Canada. Previously announced, the City of Grande Prairie and County of Grande Prairie will host the first two days of the event. New communities on board that will either host a start or finish are Grande Cache, Jasper, Edson, and Spruce Grove, with Edmonton back as a host for its third year.

“The Tour of Alberta is intended to go through all of Alberta. We want to go through as many communities and showcase them internationally and nationally around the world,” said Duane Vienneau, executive director of the Tour of Alberta. “I understand where people feel that disappointment because when you have two years of the Tour and both years they go to Red Deer and all of a sudden it’s not there – sometimes people just assume it’s coming. We’re pretty much doing a northern race this year.

“In 2016 we want to try and have more of a southern race and whether Red Deer will be involved in that, I don’t know. There are a lot of factors that come into play.

“We do definitely want to come back to Red Deer in the future.”

An exciting addition to this year’s race will see the cyclists going through the Rocky Mountains.

“For two years prior to this announcement we had a lot of international feedback saying to us that Alberta has some of the best mountains in the world – why aren’t you there?” said Vienneau. “In year one we were close, but the floods washed out the road we were going to use. We’re hearing a lot of positive feedback that we’ll be able to showcase the mountains this year.”

Ryan Anderson, who placed fifth overall in last year’s race as top Canadian said he is excited for the stage that will bring the racers into mountains.

“The 2015 Tour of Alberta is definitely different from the past two editions,” he said. “This year, we’re taking a more northerly route and will hit the high mountains for the first time. The stop in Jasper National Park should be phenomenal and put a different slant on the overall outcome. We will also have a team time trial, which you don’t see very often in major stage races. The final two days with a finish in and around Edmonton will be familiar for me, because I grew up training on many of those roads.”