Pieter Weening Seventh Fastest at Tour of Alberta PrologueWed 4 Sep 2013
Pieter Weening posted a top ten performance in Edmonton on Tuesday evening in the Tour of Alberta prologue. The Dutchman finished 29” behind Peter Sagan (Cannondale) over the 7.3km course to slot into seventh place.
“In terms of our overall ambitions, Pieter rode a decent prologue,” said Sport Director Matt White. “Peter Sagan did an incredible ride. It’s now his race to lose. Everyone knows Sagan is the fastest for the sprint stage. With the time bonuses available at the finish, he always had a shot at the overall, but I don’t know if anyone expected him to get a lead after day one.”
The technical course included 12 tight turns, a flowing descent and a short, steep climb. Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano) set the early fast time. He was eventually displaced by Rohan Dennis (Garmin Sharp). Sagan bumped Dennis down to second and Ludvigsson to third by stage end.
“It was a nice circuit downtown,” said White. “Big crowds turned out to watch tonight. It was a good showing for a brand new race.”
“Our results today were a little disappointing,” admitted White. “Pieter’s ride was solid, but the rest didn’t do as well as they would have like. I think several of the guys expected better results.”
Looking ahead toward the road stages, White considers the weather the biggest unknown factor. Winds could split the peloton and create the gaps needed to challenge for the lead.
“I expect the race to aggressive,” said White. “If no one races aggressively, we’re all racing for second because Sagan will win. The weather may determine how several days are raced. The first few stages include some very open terrain, so if the wind does come, it will make things a lot more difficult.”
“The field is smaller than usual,” White added. “There’s also quite a big variety of riders. We’ve got five WorldTour teams as well as some Continental teams. The dynamics will be different than usual. It’s going to be an exciting race.”