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Jasper stage winner takes Tour of Alberta title

The fifth annual Tour of Alberta has cycled through Jasper and is in the rear view, or (bike) side mirror.

Starting in Jasper on Sept. 1 and ending in Edmonton on Sept. 4, the race gave a little bit of everything: competition, a tight finish, and even an international stage to some home grown talent.

 

Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling), an American, showed up first at Marmot Basin to round out stage one at Jasper’s ski resort. Despite finishing 22nd in stage two, 17th in stage three and 17th in stage four, Huffman did just enough to finish the race in first overall with a cumulative time of 2:46:27.

Despite three stages in which he had lower finishes, Huffman came out as the winner because the race is based on cumulative time elapsed. Even when Huffman finished 17th or 22nd in a stage, there was likely little or no actual time gap between him and the riders ahead of him that day, organizers say.

“You could say this is the biggest victory of my career, for sure for an overall title,” Huffman told Tour of Alberta organizers.

“My Rally Cycling team fought off a lot of attacks and kept me in good position all day. But, that’s the way this team has been all year and why we continue to put up good results,” he said.

Fellow Americans Sepp Kuss and Alex Howes rounded out the top three, coming in second and third respectively.

The “feel good” story is that of a Canadian cyclist, Jack Burke (Aevolo Cycling).

Burke finished in fifth place at Marmot Basin during stage one, a finish he told reporters was, “probably the biggest result of my career so far.”

Burke, the Toronto, Ontario native, finished sixth overall.

The Tour of Alberta is Canada’s first and highest ranked professional road cycling stage race, according to organizers, and last year had an international audience of more than 40 million viewers. This year’s race was broadcast to 180 countries and 335 million households daily though total viewership is currently unknown.

Peter Verhesen, vice-chair of the Alberta Peloton Association, the non-profit organization that owns the event said. “The athletes put on a good show all week and the race is on solid footing. We’ve had some great response this week and we were able to showcase a nice part of the province. We look forward to a bright future.”

Cyclists battled the final stage with speeds averaging almost 47 kilometres per hour.

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