Watching a professional bike tour – Tour of Alberta Prologue

The Tour of Alberta came to town last week. Yup, a sanctioned UCI 2.1 Pro Stage Race came to Alberta for six days of racing.

We were lucky enough to host the prologue in Edmonton to kick off the race. I was excited because a prologue showcases the racers one at a time. They start at one minute intervals, so there was a lot to watch  unlike a stage where they zoom by in a big clump!

It was a 7.3 km time trial, starting and finishing in the heart of downtown with tight corners and one descent and climb.

IMG_6095

Team Argos-Shimano rider

There were 115 riders from 15 teams including six top European pro teams, 23-year-old Peter Sagan (ranked number two in the world), Cadel Evans who won the 2011 Tour de France, and top Canadian Ryder Hesjedal who won the Giro d’Italia in 2012.

Ryder Hesjedal, Team Garmin-Sharp

Ryder Hesjedal, Team Garmin-Sharp

Kelly and I rode our mountain bikes downtown so we could ride around and watch from various points of the course.

We got there in time to see the first rider take the first turn of the course. After watching a few riders at that turn, we rode a bit further to see them take the second and then third turns right before hitting the downhill. Then we moved on to see them crest the hill about 5km in and stayed there until the end.

Kelly was as excited as a kid at Disneyland! He told me who riders were, drooled over bikes, and cheered like crazy.

I was simply in awe of how tight they take corners, their speed, and their grit.

Team Garmin-Sharp rider

Team Garmin-Sharp rider

It was also interesting to visibly see the speed variances between the pro tour teams and the continental teams.

They saved the best for last with Peter Sagan, Cadel Evans, and Ryder Hesjedal. Hesjedal was the very last rider and, as a decorated Canadian, the cheers he got were pretty incredible.

Evans

Cadel Evans, BMC Racing Team

In the end, Sagan took first with second place coming in 13 seconds behind him and the rest of the field spread to two minutes and 21 seconds back.

Sagan

Peter Sagan, Cannondale

The other five stages rode throughout Alberta, with an approximate total distance of 850km or 530 miles.

Rohan Dennis of Team Garmin-Sharp ended up winning the event overall on Sunday.

For a first year event, I think spectator support was decent. In Edmonton there were thousands of fans on bikes and with cowbells, cameras, and maps.

Hopefully we host the race again next year, with a more exciting route to better showcase Alberta and with more fans to cheer on the cyclists!

Have you ever watched a professional bike race, or any bike race? 

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24 responses to “Watching a professional bike tour – Tour of Alberta Prologue

  1. What a cool experience! And so many big cycling names! My husband and I follow the Tour de France every year, and Peter Sagan has been fun to watch the last few years. And I love Ryder – so young and talented!

  2. Very cool!! I don’t know any of the racers but still can always appreciate a good race (especially professional).
    One summer (about 13 years ago), I got to go to France. Chris was there for work and I flew over for a couple of weeks. A couple days after I left he and some of the other pilots got to see part of the Tour de France – we had been to the place where it took place while I was there.

  3. I’ve never watched a bike race, unless watching the Tour on TV counts. It’s always a pretty big deal in our house! It blows my mind how fast they go and like you, how easily they can take those corners. Wow!

  4. Ok, I honestly think you should be a race commentator or a race reporter or something like that because whether you’re competing or spectating, you always give the best recaps!! im not kidding. i love watching the Tour on tv, but ive never seen one live. that must be awesome!

  5. Sounds like fun! I watched the ITU final when it was in Auckland and it was amazing watching the top guns – they’re impossibly fast, and very inspiring!

  6. Fun!! It sounds like it would be more fun to watch it live than on TV. I have never watched a pro bike race but they have different crits around town that are fun to go watch!

  7. I get so obsessed with the Tour De France on TV and would be so happy to see it live! How cool!

  8. That’s so cool!!! The UCI world champs are coming to Richmond next year and our city has been prepping for it for a while! I am SO excited to see and be part of such a huge race!

    • That will be awesome! You should volunteer and try to be one of the people who goes with the athletes to doping once it’s finished. I think it would be really interesting to see that behind the scenes!

  9. That’s pretty exciting stuff!! I would love to see something like that live and up close. I am sure being riders, you really enjoyed it!!

  10. So fun! Richmond is hosting a huge bike race in 2015- don’t know the details on it but Justin is like a kid in DisneyLand as well!

  11. So fun! Love bike racing and would love to see these guys race! Minneapolis and Saint Paul host the Nature Valley Grand Prix every summer, and it’s a blast to watch!

  12. How awesome to see!! I saw a pro criterion race once and I got SO NERVOUS watching those guys go around corners. They go amazingly fast. My hubby would be oogling all the bikes too! LOL

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