Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) again confirmed that he is one of the best time triallists in the world when he took a hugely dominant victory in the Tour of Alberta prologue. The Dutchman beat Sergei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly) by a massive 14 seconds on the short 4km course while Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) was a very distant third, 3 seconds further adrift.
Tom Dumoulin went into the 4km Tour of Alberta prologue as the big favourite but few would have expected the Dutchman to dominate the stage in the way he did. Being the only rider to cover the hilly course at an average speed of more than 40kph, he beat his nearest rival Sergei Tvetcov by a massive 14 seconds while Tom Danielson was third at 17 seconds.
Dumoulin was an early started but already when he crossed the line, it was apparent that his time would be very hard to beat. He faced a long wait in the hot seat but could see all rider finish far off his mark on a day when only 5 riders finished with 20 seconds of his impressive time.
The second edition of the Tour of Alberta kicked off with a short 4.0km evening prologue in the city of Calgary. After a flat start, the stage ended with a hard 1km climb which made it a course more for explosive climbers than TT specialists.
The first rider down the ramp was Adam Matthew Farabaugh (Garneau) who set an early mark with a time of 6.39. He was beaten into second by Hugo Houle (Canada) who went one second better.
The Ag2r rider led the stage for a few minutes before Georg Preidler (Giant-Shimano) powered across the line in a time that was 3 seconds faster. Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin) was unable to challenge the Austrian and slotted into second.
Joseph Schmalz (Hincapie) surprisingly beat Preidler and shaved another second off the mark with an impressive ride. Taylor Shelden (5-hour) was the next rider to make it onto the provisional podium, being just fractions of a second behind Schmalz and Preidler.
Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE) made use of his great climbing skills to significantly lower the mark, going 9 seconds faster than Schmalz. However, he has barely crossed the line before Dumoulin flew acros the line, beating his compatriot by no less than 26 seconds.
The next Giant rider on the start line was Simon Geschke and the German made it a provisional 1-2 for the Dutch team as he crossed the line in a time that was 23 seconds slower than Dumoulin’s. Dion Smith (Hincapie) had a good ride to slot into fourth.
Ryan Anderson (Optum) made use of his good form shown in Colorado to move into third with a time that was just fractions of a second slower than Geschke’s. However, all eyes were on Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE) in his return to competition and the South African did a good performance by slotting into second.
James Oram (Bissell) confirmed his great potential by posting the fourth fastest time. Moments later, Davide Villella (Cannondale) became the first rider to finish within 20 seconds of Dumoulin’s time when he stopped the clock in a time that was 18 seconds off the mark.
Rob Britton (SmartStop) slotted into the top 10 with a great ride and Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Steven Kruijswijk (Belkin) both repeated that feat a few minutes later. However, it was Phil Gaimon (Garmin) who attracted the attention when he slotted into third, confirming the good form shown in Colorado.
Zach Bell (SmartStop) pleased the home crowd with a great performance that saw him slot into fourth. He was pushed down one spot by Daniel Summerhill (UnitedHealthCare) who made it onto the provisional podium with the third best time.
Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEDGE) made it two Canadians in the top 6 before Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell) just made it into the top 10. He was pushed down one spot by Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie) who posted the fifth best time.
Ryan Roth (Silber) made it three Canadians in the top 10 by slotting into 8th but the focus was on Sergei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly) who was expected to be Dumoulin’s only real threat. The Romanian did a good ride to take second but he was 14 seconds off the Dutchman’s mark.
Among the final 7 starters, only one managed to crack the top 10. Tom Danielson (Garmin), wearing dossard number 1, stopped the clock in a time of 6.16 to take third as he kicked off Garmin’s title defence in the Canadian race.
Dumoulin now goes into tomorrow’s first stage with a 14-second advantage over Tvetcov. The 143km is held entirely on a circuit in Lethbridge which is a brutal affair. Every lap the riders tackle a steep 15% climb whose top is located just 5km from the finish and as there is no descent after the summit, the climb is expected to create a selection in the 6-day race.
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