When the Tour of Alberta kicks off in Grande Prairie today, it’ll be with a brand new event. A team time trial replaces the individual time trials, presenting a new challenge for riders. It’ll be the first one of the year for Optum Pro Cycling racer Ryan Anderson, but he says he welcomes the change.
“It’s very unique because it brings you together even more as a team. It’s not just if I am the fastest guy on the day; we need all of the guys, so everyone has to be united and if things go well, it builds a good environment for the team.”
The Spruce Grove native has won the past two Best Canadian jerseys at the Tour of Alberta, and argues the event has helped grow the sport of cycling in Canada.
“First getting the Tour of Alberta off the ground a couple years ago, and to show the commitment and having us up here for two stages, that’s a big deal. There was a lot of people that were putting in bids for the race this year.”
Anderson adds that after hearing how young the community in Grande Prairie is, he hopes to see more people on bikes after the Tour leaves. Those young people will be taking part in the tour festivals and lining the routes to cheer on the best cyclists in the world.
The first racers on the 19.6 kilometre time trial route start at 6:15 tonight, running about an hour and 15 minutes in total.