On this third stage of the race, departing from Strathmore to Drumheller, the Australian cyclist riding with Team Garmin-Sharp was part of a large 18-man break, packed with power, for most of the race until a smaller group of six emerged in front that went all the way to the finish line.
A break of 12 riders took off approximately 60km after the start of the race in Strathmore, which was later joined by a six-rider chase. Once the merger between the chase and the break was completed, the 18-man break worked well together and managed to increase their lead throughout the entire race.
With a rolling terrain, strong winds and some climbs toward the end of the 169.8km course, Dennis and 17 other riders smelled that an early break could be the winning move today, and they were proven right. With five guys in the break at the top of the General Classification, the powerful group was certainly one to watch.
Peter Sagan, the leader entering the race, missed the critical break and was forced to rely on his exhausted teammates from Cannondale Pro Cycling team, who have been pulling the peloton for the last two days to keep him at the top of the standings. The other teams, with GC leaders in the break, did not help Cannondale close the gap.
Six riders attacked the lead group, and eventually would gain upwards of a one-minute gap on the chase group. That group consisted of Dennis, Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing), Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano), Steve Morabito (BMC Racing), Robert Gesink (Belkin Pro Cycing) and Damiano Caruso (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
At the finish line, a group of six riders crossed together, with Rohan taking the first place in a photo finish in front of Bookwalter in second and Caruso in third.
In the General Classification, Dennis takes over the lead as his lead group crossed the finish line with over 16 minutes ahead of the main peloton, of which Sagan was part of. Dennis enter stage four tomorrow with an 18 second lead on Brent Bookwalter of BMC racing, and 30 seconds on Damiano Caruso of Cannondale Pro Cycling. Peter Sagan, who was leading since the opening prologue, drops to the 19th place, 16:35 behind.
The third stage finished in Drumheller, a small town tucked away in the picturesque Canadian Badlands along the Dinosaur Trail. To honour this special stage, Dennis received as a gift a dinosaur bone, a gift he will cherish forever.
ANDERSON CONTINUES SUCCESSFUL SEASON, TAKES OVER RED JERSEY
The Best Canadian jersey also exchanged hands after today’s stage, with Ryan Anderson of Optum-Kelly Benefits being part of the winning break. He jumps to the seventh place of the overall classification, just 44s outside Dennis, dislodging Ryder Hesjedal. With two more stages left in the race and a lead of 7:20 on Alex Cataford of Garneau-Quebecor, second in the Best Canadian ranking, Anderson has a golden opportunity to end the Tour of Alberta in red.
“I think today we got a true stage that the Tour of Alberta can provide, with winds and rollers. We raced hard all day to make that stage even better, even more exciting. It was game on pretty much from the first right turn today, and it’s made it exciting for everyone watching. It adds to what the Tour of Alberta can be like, and develop into a hard race, not necessarily into climbs,” said Anderson, who grew up just outside Edmonton in Spruce Grove, AB. “Especially from being originally from Alberta, it’s pretty sweet to wear red. I still want to get a stage podium, and I’ll try for that the next couple of days. I think this is a nice addition for the tour, and we’ll be hungry for more.”
Anderson was part of the strategic attack and remained for the most part with the main group until the six riders detached themselves at the front: “I was pretty close to making that lead group at the end, but it was just a little too tough for me. I really didn’t think it would come back, but it ended up being quite close. At least I was able to take the red jersey, which makes the day a little better. I helped chase a bit when I could. I didn’t really want to chase by myself because I had no chance to win the stage.”
The young rider has been enjoying a terrific season to date, stepping twice on the podium at last week’s USA Pro Challenge, and taking the fourth place in the first stage of the Tour of Alberta, notably. Next week, he’ll suit up in the Canadian uniform, representing Canada at the UCI Worldtour race in Quebec and Montréal.
“For me this year, it’s been a really good season. Just been racing in North America, but all the UCI races I have done have gone extremely well for me. I think it’s gonna leapfrog me forward. After this, I will try to continue and do well at the two WorldTour races with the Canadian National Team in Québec and Montreal.”
Anderson was part of the SpiderTech project led by Steve Bauer, and grew as a racer with the program. “After SpiderTech I was a little bit disappointed. I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do, and coming back to a team like Optum-Kelly Benefits has been a good home for me, to refocus and come out stronger than I have ever been. Going forward, I think I still want to do races in Europe and the bigger North American races, so we’ll see how the rest of the year fans out. I think this year I’ve shown that I when I need to, I can take care of myself, and get some good results in a sprint. I certainly am not focussing on sprints as a specialty of sort. I think in Europe and hard one-day races I can take care of myself when opportunities arise.
The 2013 Tour of Alberta continues tomorrow with the fourth stage in Black Diamond, and end on Sunday in Calgary.
The race can be watched on Sportsnet in Canada, with the last two hours of the race shown live.
2013 Tour of Alberta – RESULTS, STAGE 3
1. Rohan Dennis Australia | Team Garmin-Sharp 3:55:31
2. Brent Bookwalter United States | BMC Racing Team +0
3. Damiano Caruso Italy | Cannondale Pro Cycling +0
4. Patrick Gretsch Germany | Team Argos-Shimano +0
5. Robert Gesink Netherlands | Belkin Pro Cycling Team +0
6. Steve Morabito Switzerland | BMC Racing Team +0
7. Ryan Anderson Canada | Optum P/b Kelly Benefit Strategies +:09
8. Marcus Burghardt Germany | BMC Racing Team +:09
9. Jakub Novak Czech Republic | BMC Racing Team +:09
10. Jeremy Vennell New Zealand | Bissell Pro Cycling +:09
21. Derrick St John Canada | Canadian National Team +16:48
22. Jean-Michel Lachance Canada | Canadian National Team +16:48
28. Rob Britton Canada | Canadian National Team +16:48
45. Ryan Aitcheson Canada | Canadian National Team +16:48
55. Garrett Mcleod Canada | Canadian National Team +16:48
63. Stuart Wight Canada | Canadian National Team +16:48
64. Antoine Duchesne Canada | Canadian National Team +16:48
102. Jean-Sebastien Perron Canada | Canadian National Team +16:48
2013 Tour of Alberta – OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
1. Rohan Dennis Australia | Team Garmin-Sharp 10:59:18
2. Brent Bookwalter United States | BMC Racing Team +:18
3. Damiano Caruso Italy | Cannondale Pro Cycling +:30
4. Patrick Gretsch Germany | Team Argos-Shimano +:31
5. Robert Gesink Netherlands | Belkin Pro Cycling Team +:34
6. Robert Sweeting United States | 5-Hour Energy P/b Kenda +:54
7. Francisco Mancebo Spain | 5-Hour Energy P/b Kenda +:55
8. Ryan Anderson Canada | Optum P/b Kelly Benefit Strategies +:56
9. Matthias Friedemann Germany | Champion System Pro Cycling +1:12
10. Steven Kruijswijk Netherlands | Belkin Pro Cycling Team +1:15
37. Rob Britton Canada | Canadian National Team +17:42
39. Antoine Duchesne Canada | Canadian National Team +17:43
56. Jean-Michel Lachance Canada | Canadian National Team +18:03
73. Derrick St John Canada | Canadian National Team +18:37
77. Jean-Sebastien Perron Canada | Canadian National Team +18:52
81. Garrett Mcleod Canada | Canadian National Team +18:57
90. Ryan Aitcheson Canada | Canadian National Team +19:48
92. Stuart Wight Canada | Canadian National Team +19:53
2013 Tour of Alberta – THE STAGES
Prologue: Tuesday, September 3; Edmonton (7.3 km)
Stage 1: Wednesday, September 4; Strathcona County to Camrose (158.1 km)
Stage 2: Thursday, September 5; Devon to Red Deer (174.8 km)
Stage 3: Friday, September 6; Strathmore to Drumheller (169.8 km)
Stage 4: Saturday, September 7; Black Diamond/Foothills (169.9 km)
Stage 5: Sunday, September 8 – Okotoks to Calgary (129.4 km)
2013 Tour of Alberta – THE JERSEYS
Province of Alberta Leader Jersey (Yellow): Rohan Dennis Australia | Team Garmin-Sharp 10:59:18
SUBWAY® Sprint Jersey (Green): Peter Sagan Slovakia | Cannondale Pro Cycling 25pts
Budweiser Crown king of the mountains Jersey (Red Polka Dots): Robert Gesink Netherlands | Belkin Pro Cycling Team 25 pts
CWB Best Young Rider Jersey (White): Rohan Dennis Australia | Team Garmin-Sharp 10:59:18
Best Canadian Jersey (Red): Ryan Anderson Canada | Optum P/b Kelly Benefit Strategies +:56
Most Aggressive Rider (Blue): Steve Morabito Swtizerland | BMC Racing Team