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Slovakian make fabulous acceleration through final turn to open up a massive gap on his fellow sprinters while Dennis finishes safely in the bunch to seal the overall win

Photo: Sirotti

BRENT BOOKWALTER

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DAMIANO CARUSO

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EF EDUCATION - EASYPOST

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PETER SAGAN

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ROBERT FÖRSTER

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ROHAN DENNIS

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TOUR OF ALBERTA

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09.09.2013 @ 00:57 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a couple of quieter days, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was back in the spotlight on the final stage of the inaugural Tour of Alberta when the Slovakian made use of his fabulous technical skills to distance his rivals through the final corner and take a convincing win. Luka Mezgec (Argos) and Robert Förster (UnitedHealthCare) completed the podium while Rohan Dennis (Garmin) finished safely in the bunch to seal his first overall win in a major stage race.

 

Peter Sagan was left frustrated on stage 3 of the inaugural Tour of Alberta when fierce crosswinds and a lack of team support saw him fall out of GC contention. After a couple of quieter days, the Slovakian ended the race of a high when he won the final sprint in downtown Calgary.

 

The Cannondale captain was left to fend for himself in the hectic finale but maneuvered himself safely through the different challenges that occurred while UnitedHealthCare was giving their sprinter Robert Förster and Luke Keough a perfect lead-out. Just before the final corner with 200m to the line, Sagan burst forward and went through the turn with a far higher speed than anyone else, opening up a massive gap. He used his fierce acceleration to extend his advantage even further and he had plenty of time to celebrate a convincing win, his third in the race. Luka Mezgec finished a distance 2nd while Förster completed the podium.

 

On a traditional sprint day, race leader Rohan Dennis had everything under control and the Australian could comfortably roll across the line in 19th to seal his first overall win in a major stage race. He finished 18 seconds ahead of Brent Bookwalter (BMC) while Sagan's teammate Damiano Caruso made sure that there was a Cannondale representative on the final podium.

 

Most of the biggest names from the inaugural edition of Canada's biggest stage race will stay in Canada for another week, participating in the two WorldTour races in Quebec and Montreal.

 

A short sprint stage

The 129,5km final stage was a short mostly flat run from Okotoks to Calgary and finished four laps on a 3,6km circuit in downtown Calgary. Most expected a big bunch sprint to bring the inaugural edition of the race to its conclusion.

 

Nonetheless, many of the continental teams were eager to get into the break and so the race was off to a fast and an aggressive start. The first move to get a noticeable gap included yesterday's stage winner Cadel Evans (BMC), Tom Zirbel (Optum), Sergei Tvetchov (Jelly Belly) and Thomas Damuseau (Argos) but it was quickly reeled in. Solo attacks from Max Jenkins (5-Hour) and Lawrence Warbasse (BMC) were similarly ill-fated.

 

The break is formed

A 6-rider group got a small gap but was quickly reeled in before the riders could even be identified by race officials. Moments later, the elastic finally snapped and 8 riders were allowed to build up a gap.

 

James Stemper (5-Hour), Fumiyuki Beppu (Orica-GreenEDGE), Chad Haga (Optum), Nic Hamilton (Jelly Belly), Craig Lewis (Champion System), Kristofer Dahl (Smartstop), Carter Jones (Bissell) and Adam Farabaugh (Garneau) made up the group and with Stemper being the best-placed on GC, more than 9 minutes behind Dennis, there was no danger for the race leader. Over the top of the day's only categorized climb, Dahl attacked but was quickly reeled in by his fellow escapees.

 

No big gap

The peloton never allowed the group much leeway and kept the gap at around 1.30 for some time. Belkin, UnitedHealthCare, Argos-Shimano and Cannondale all had a clear intention of setting up a bunch sprint and those four teams collaborated well to gradually reel in the break.

 

When the break reached Calgary and approached the first passage of the finish line, the attacks started as the gap had now come down to 10 seconds. Stemper, Dahl and Farabaugh got a small gap but it came back together. Lewis was the next to tray and he was joined by Dahl and Hamilton in a move that was similarly ill-fated.

 

The break splits up

Beppu countered that attack and got company from Farabaugh and Stemper and those three riders opened a solid gap. Hamilton and Dahl, both Calgary natives, set off in pursuit and almost bridged across before starting to fade. The duo were caught by the peloton just before the first passage of the line where the only sprint was located. Patrick Gretsch (Argos) and Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) didn't realize that three riders were still up the road and so they went head to head in a futile sprint.

 

Local hero Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) had led the peloton onto the circuit and was now replaced UnitedHealthCare and Argos-Shimano riders that tried to reel in the escapees. They proved surprisingly resistant and were only brought back when they passed the line to start the final lap, Farabaugh having made one last dig to try to stay clear.

 

Mancebo takes control

UnitedHealthCare and Argos-Shimano battled for control on the final lap and both teams had prolonged stints on the front while the sprinters battled for position a little further behind. When they passed the flamme rouge, Francisco Mancebo (5-Hour) made an attempt and instead set up the UnitedHealthCare train.

 

The American team was in total control inside the final kilometre but just as they prepared to take the final turn in first position, they were overtaken by the fabulous figure of Sagan. The Slovakian burst out of the corner to take a convincing win while Dennis could celebrate his biggest career win.

 

Result:

1. Peter Sagan 2.42.20

2. Luka Mezgec

3. Robert Förster

4. Luke Keough

5. Nicolai Brøchner

6. Bradley Huff

7. Brent Bookwalter

8. Ryan Anderson

9. Tomas Vaitkus

10. Patrick Naud

 

General classification:

1. Rohan Dennis 17.48.45

2. Brent Bookwalter +0.15

3. Damiano Caruso +0.30

4. Patrick Gretsch +0.31

5. Robert Gesink +0.37

6. Ryan Anderson +0.53

7. Francisco Mancebo +0.53

8. Robert Sweeting +0.54

9. Matthias Friedemann +1.14

10. Steven Kruijswijk +1.19

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