Bunch Sprint on First Stage of Tour of Alberta

Wed 4 Sep 2013

Peter Sagan made it two-for-two at the Tour of Alberta, sprinting to victory on stage one in Camrose on Wednesday. His Cannondale team chased down the four rider breakaway on the second of three finish circuit laps. Sagan bested Eric Young (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Moreno Hofland (Belkin) for the top step of the podium.

Tomas Vaitkus was the best-placed rider for ORICA-GreenEDGE, crossing the line in 12th place aside Pieter Weening in 13th. Vaitkus, Weening, Cameron Meyer and Fumy Beppu all finished on bunch time. Weening moved up from seventh to sixth overall after the first two stages while Meyer leapfrogged up to 15th place.

Sport Director Matt White answers questions about the first road stage below.

Q: What was the team’s approach to today’s stage?

Well, it’s always nice to have someone in the breakaway. We weren’t going to try too hard for that, but if we got someone in the move, fine. If not, we’d see how Aidis [Kruopis] was feeling for the sprint or sit back and let other teams battle it out for today’s stage.

Aidis was sick last week, and it’s clear he’s still not at his best. His legs weren’t good today, so when we ruled out working for him for the sprint, we decided to have as easy day as possible in the bunch. We’re waiting to put pressure on Cannondale until the hillier days.

Q: Why did it take so long for the break to go today?

It was unbelievable. During the first 45 minutes of the race, they didn’t once get under 55km. Most of the race was held on big, open roads that allowed that sort of lightening fast speed. It was too fast for anyone to get away. That’s what took so long.

Q: You’ve spoken about the weather and the role it might play in the race. Was weather a factor today?

No – not really. A lot of the stage was cross-tailwind, but it wasn’t strong and didn’t change directions too many times. We needed a cross-headwind or straight up crosswind to split the bunch.

Q: Are you still liking how we look in terms of the overall?

There wasn’t much we could do today as for as the overall goes. Pieter jumped up one spot and Cam’s up five spots, so we now have two guys in the top 15 overall. With the win, Sagan secured more time bonuses, so while they moved up a few spots, they didn’t gain any time.

Q: Anything else notable about our day?

Our Korean stagiaire, Jiyong Kang, had a nasty touch down today. He’s currently at the hospital getting cleaned. He lost a lot of skin on his hips, arms and hands, and unfortunately, his hands got the worst of it. We provided him with gloves, but it sounds like the gloves were too big. He must not have realised we have other sizes, so rather than ask for a new pair, he raced without gloves today.

He showed some fighting spirit to finish with the bunch. He crashed nearly 80km from the finish. We’ll assess after he returns to us from the hospital to determine if he can start tomorrow.