Sunday, September 29, 2013

About Giro

Founded in Santa Cruz, California in 1985, Giro Sport Design develops new ideas to enhance the ride. Since creating the first lightweight, high-performance helmets for cycling and snowsports, they have maintained a strong focus on interface products that enhance the feeling of freedom and independence that riding brings to life. As the leader in the design, fit and engineering of products that complement the body, Giro is the first choice of riders worldwide.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Italy Plans to Make Everyone Suffer in Elite Men's Worlds

By: Stephen Farrand

Nibali ready for role as aggressive team leader

Italian national coach Paolo Bettini has confirmed that the Italian team will ride aggressively in Sunday's world championships road race in the hope of creating a hard and selective race and so favour team leader Vincenzo Nibali or at least make the likes of Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara suffer.

The Italian squad rode the Florence finishing circuit for the first time on Thursday morning. Bettini refused to name his final starting nine until close to Friday's deadline. He movingly remembered the late Franco Ballerini, who was the national coach when Bettini won his two world titles (2006, 2007) and Olympic gold at the 2004 Games in Athens. Ballerini's widow and children attended the press conference to encourage the Italian riders and wish them all the best.

Bettini is expected to go for experience and climbing ability rather youth and speed.

Vincenzo Nibali and Filippo Pozzato are expected to be team leaders, with Diego Ulissi also given protected status after his excellent ride at the Vuelta a Espana. Rinaldo Nocentini, Giampaolo Caruso, Michele Scarponi, Luca Paolini, Giovanni Visconti and Ivan Santaromita will be expected to go in the early breaks and do the heavy lifting and chasing. Simone Ponzi and Alessandro Vanotti likely to be the two reserves who will help with information and tactics from the road side in the absence of race radios.

"A lot's been said about the world championships but now it's time to race," Bettini said in a long and drawn out press conference.

"The circuit is great but also hard. We're up against a lot of rivals but we're playing at home and we're ready. We'll see how the race evolves on Sunday and see what happens during the whole 272km. The circuit is fast - they'll do the Fiesole climb at 30km/h and it'll be very hard when the racing is hard. There's very little time to recover or organise a chase because there are two climbs per lap.

"We'll be riding to win. People have been saying other countries are the favourites and so they'll have to take some responsibility but we're ready to take ours. Rather than chase all day, we want to be chased. We won’t hold back."

Bettini praised Nibali and the rest of the team. Luca Paolini announced this will be his last ever world championships after wearing the azzurra ten times. The experienced Katusha rider will be the Italian road captain and a possible protected sprinter if the race stays together.

"Nibali is developing and growing all the time," said Bettini. "Now he's going to become a father and so he'll mature even more. He's unusual as a rider. He can win Grand Tours but can also blow one-day races apart and win. He's not only a stage race rider like Contador. He can do something on Sunday."

Nibali ready to race in the rain

Nibali said he had recovered from the efforts of the Vuelta a Espana thanks to some quiet time at home and some quality training. He's from Messina in Sicily but is motivated for the Tuscan world championships after spending much of his amateur career in Tuscany teams.

"The circuit is fast but hard too," he said.

"You do the Fiesole climb and there's no time to recover because you quickly hit the Via Salviati climb. It's also one of the longest Worlds we've done for many years and there's 3000m of climb, that's quite a lot.

"It's a long, hard Worlds, so we'll need lots of endurance, so it's difficult to predict how the race will be decided. It's true, I've got to finish alone but my back is covered if I attack because we've got good riders like Visconti, Pozzato, Paolini and Ulissi."

Rain is forecast for Sunday, which could provide Nibali an extra edge.

"I won't be doing a rain dance but I've proved I can give a bit more in the rain. There are a lot of rivals like Cancellara and Sagan who also go well in wet conditions. But if it does rain, it'll be harder for everyone," he predicted.

Article Source: Cycling News 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Howson Powers to U23 Men's Time Trial Title

By: Stephen Farrand

Paillot, Hansen round out podium

Damien Howson (Australia) blasted to victory in the Under 23 men's time trial at the world championships, adding a rainbow jersey to his green and gold Australian Under-23 national champion's jersey and his Oceania title.

The Adelaide-born rider set a time of 49:49, covering the pan flat 43.5km course from Pistoia to Florence at an average of 52.3km/h. Howson beat Yoann Paillot (France) by a massive 57 seconds, while Lasse Norman Hansen (Denmark) finished third at 1:10.

Campbell Flakemore (Australia) finished fourth, just off the podium, 1:22 behind his compatriot. The USA's Lawson Craddock finished fifth, 1:41 down after being affected by a mid-race crash. Ireland's Ryan Mullen was seventh at 1:47.

Howson took third place last year but will have little chance to show off his rainbow jersey, as he will ride with Orica-GreenEdge in 2014 after signing a multi-year deal with the Australian WorldTour team. He is widely considered to be a future Grand Tour winner and seems to have the potential to follow in the footsteps of Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers and Richie Porte.

"At the start of the season I won the Australian and Oceania titles and so set myself the goal of taking all three. This has been a major focus of mine all year, so I'm so happy to have done it," Howson said after pulling on his rainbow jersey.

The time trial was all about power, speed and aerodynamics. Howson’s ride was a perfect balance of all three. He is tall and powerful but not muscular, resembling Bradley Wiggins more than Fabian Cancellara.

Howson has the strength to push out the watts needed to ride at over 50km/h and combines it with a near perfect aero position on the bike. He is able to keep a flat back despite his tall build, with his arms tucked in close together to help him penetrate the air as smoothly as possible. He follows the same race strategy for every time trial he rides.

"I always try and maintain a constant pace from start to the finish. I focus on what I can do best. I was told I was doing a good ride and I think this is one of the best rides I've ever done. I'm happy about that."

Howson had a taste of riding with Orica-GreenEdge as a stagiaire at the Tour of Utah. He will make the full step up in 2014, with the dream of developing into a Grand Tour contender.

"I was happy to sign a contract with Orica-GreenEdge 2014," he said. "I rode against some WorldTour teams at the Tour Down Under and got a taste of racing with them in Utah. It was a great. I met the guys and learnt about the differences between Under 23 racing and the top level racing. I'm excited for next year and for the future."

Paillot takes silver for France

Silver medalist Paillot is the current French and European time trial champion and already rides as a professional with the La Pomme Marseille Continental team, which no doubt helped him take on the other Under-23 riders.

"When I saw the course, I knew I was one of favourites and this pushed me to do better. I'm happy with silver," he said, confirming he will stay with La Pomme Marseille next year.

"We've got a good programme of races and we've done well this year. I hope to ride in the WorldTour some time in the future but I'm happy at La Pomme Marseille for now."

Hansen to ride for Garmin-Sharp in 2014

Lasse Norman Hansen completed the podium, taking bronze. Like Howson, he will also ride in the WorldTour in 2014, with Garmin-Sharp. He won Olympic gold in the Omnium on the track but hopes to become a cobbled classics contender during his professional career.

"I was really hoping to be good today. I think I timed my form well and did a perfect ride but Damien was better today," he said sportingly.

"I was leading by less than a second at the first split but that was because my plan was to start fast and try to hold my pace. But I died a bit between the splits and just wasn't fast enough."

Howson, Paillot, and Hansen will all ride in Friday's Under 23 road race, as the leading cycling nations clash on the tough circuit around Florence.

Article Source and for Full Results: Cycling News 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Evans Admits Another Tour de France Win is Unlikely

Australian on the demands of Grand Tours in current era

Although Cadel Evans has admitted that he is unlikely to win the Tour de France again, the BMC rider is determined to try and return to his former levels next season, where he is expected to line up at the Giro d’Italia rather than at the Tour.

In an interview with L’Équipe, Evans acknowledged that at 36 years of age, he will be hard-pressed to repeat his Tour de France victory of 2011. “I won’t say that it’s impossible [to win the Tour again] but it’s very, very difficult and, for me, unlikely,” Evans said. “Does that surprise you?”

Evans finished 3rd in this year’s Giro but went on to struggle at the Tour and has ruled out the possibility of lining up at both races next season. “I won’t do the Giro-Tour double two years running. It cost me too much,” he told L’Équipe.

The Australian pointed out that the demands of preparing for a Grand Tour in the current era is such that it is becoming ever more difficult to be competitive at both the Giro and Tour.

“Today, the difference in stage races is made during the preparatory training camps,” Evans said. “You have to train hard, in a specific way and recover well. You have to target you event carefully and prepare specifically, which means spending a lot of time away from home. Doing six weeks at altitude is an advantage over those who have only done two or three weeks.”

Evans acknowledged that Bradley Wiggins and Sky brought a new level of rigour to Tour de France preparation in 2012, although he wondered whether such focus is sustainable over an extended period of time. “That year, Wiggins made a lot of sacrifices every day,” he said. “From the outside, I don’t know if you can repeat that every year.”

After taking a morale-boosting stage victory at the Tour of Alberta last week, Evans is now working towards his final objectives of the 2013 season – the world championships in Florence and the Tour of Lombardy. “Above all, I want to finish the season well,” he said. “Next year, my aim will be to get back to my old level, the one I was at up until 2012.”

Article Source: Cycling News

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bradley Wiggins Wins Tour of Britain Time Trial

 By: Daniel Benson

Sky rider takes overall race lead

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) blitzed the16km time trial course on stage 3 of the Tour of Britain to move into the overall race lead. The 2012 Tour de France champion completed the course in a time of 19:54, finishing 32 seconds clear of teammate Ian Stannard, and 42 seconds ahead of Garmin-Sharp’s Jack Bauer.

Wiggins’ time was enough to see him move into the race leader’s golden jersey after overnight leader Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) could only manage 34th on the stage, 1:51 down on Wiggins.
Wiggins now leads Ian Stannard by 33 seconds, with Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) in third.

“It’s not been a great season up to now, for one reason or another. But the minute I was not riding the Tour [de France] I was training locally. This was always on my mind and it was great to get out there and do a performance like that after the last two days,” Wiggins said at the finish.

In wet conditions it was Wiggins’ aggression through the technical sections that saw him establish an early lead as he zipped through the opening corners and accelerated out of the saddle at the exit from each apex. His commitment on the slick roundabouts that littered the course, coupled with his improving form, saw him complete the opening half of the time trial in 9:17.

His pre-race competition, Alex Dowsett (Movistar) had started minutes before the Olympic champion and having beaten Wiggins at the Giro d’Italia time trial to Polsa in May was expected to once again challenge. However the Movistar rider, who will line up with Wiggins in the individual time trial at the Worlds next week, was never able to challenge Wiggins' time and finished fourth on the stage.

Earlier on in the day Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole-CSF) briefly led. The Italian was eventually edged out by Jack Bauer in a time of 20:36. And when Dowsett and the impressive Nairo Quintana (Movistar) failed to take the lead, only Wiggins and Stannard stood in the New Zealander’s way to a surprise win.

Stannard, having set off before his team leader, was first over the line, 10 seconds ahead of Bauer, but Wiggins was fast approaching the finish and by the time he crossed the line in 19:54 the stage win was secure.

Article Source: Cycling News

Saturday, September 14, 2013

(2013) Police Unity Tour: Chapter 37

In May 1997 the Police Unity Tour was organized by Officer Patrick P. Montuore of the Florham Park Police Dept., with the hope of bringing public awareness of Police Officers who have died in the line of duty and to honor their sacrifices. The Police Unity Tour started with 18 riders on a four day fund-raising bicycle ride from Florham Park, NJ to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. which raised $18,000.00. Today, the Police Unity Tour has over 1200 members nationwide who make the trip.

Chapter 37 was started by Port Authority police officers in 2002 and named in honor of the 37 PAPD officers who were killed in the line of duty on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. Although designated the New York chapter, membership of active and retired law enforcement officers also includes police departments from California, New Jersey and New Hampshire. The chapter is also viewed as the 9/11/01 Memorial Chapter. The original Chapter 37 members are represented by members of the Port Authority NY/NJ, Huntington Beach CA, Glendale CA, Nassau County and the New York City Police Departments. A pledge was made by the original members that Chapter 37 will always start the Tour at the World Trade Center to honor, respect and remember the 72 officers who lost their lives September 11, 2001.

Jamis Bicycles is a proud sponsor of the Police Unity Tour: Chapter 37 Here is the official website for Chapter 37:

Video Produced by Jamis Bicycles

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

World's Best Headline Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Montreal

 Canadian eyes again on Hesjedal

By: Peter Hymas

On the same weekend that the Vuelta a España champion will be crowned in Spain, across the pond in Canada the UCI WorldTour will make its lone foray into North America with the fourth running of two taxing one-day events: the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec on Friday, September 13 and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday, September 15.

Despite the fact that the races in Québec and Montreal overlap with the season's final Grand Tour, nonetheless a deeply talented peloton of 21 eight-man teams has been assembled from the 19 WorldTour squads, one Pro Continental squad (France's Team Europcar) plus a Canadian national team formed from the rosters of various Pro Continental and Continental squads.

Headlining the Canadian races are both the number 1 and number 2 cyclists on the WorldTour rankings: Chris Froome (Sky) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale), respectively. Fittingly, Froome will wear dossard #1 whilst competing in Canada and it will be the first time a reigning Tour de France champion has competed in Québec and Montréal. Froome and several Sky teammates, including trusted lieutenant Richie Porte, have been in North America since mid-August, first arriving for Colorado's USA Pro Challenge (August 19-25) and then remaining there to continue training in their build-up to these Canadian races and the world championships. While Froome and company were underwhelming in Colorado, with that race plus additional training in their legs they should be well-equipped to handle the amount of climbing on tap for Friday and Sunday.

Arguably the odds-on favourite for victory both days, Peter Sagan, too, has had a block of racing and training in North America that's been in effect since early August when he arrived in Aspen, Colorado to acclimate to the altitude he'd face during the USA Pro Challenge. The 23-year-old Slovakian champion has been on a tear of late, with four stage wins plus a stint in the leader's jersey in Colorado followed by three stage wins and another stint in the leader's jersey at the inaugural Tour of Alberta (September 3-8). Sagan has competed in the Canadian WorldTour races in both 2010 and 2012, with a second place in the 2010 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal his only top-10 result, but with another year of racing in his legs to build both strength and tactical acumen Sagan will definitely be a threat in both events.

Sagan also has an eye on the world championships in Italy, taking place two weeks after Sunday's race in Montréal, and it will be curious to see how he fares with his North American build-up, rather than the Vuelta. The last 12 world champions all contested the Vuelta a España prior to winning the rainbow jersey, but Sagan may prove that the racing opportunities on offer in North America, now buoyed by the addition of the Tour of Alberta to bridge the gap between the USA Pro Challenge and the one-day Canadian WorldTour races provides suitable preparation for Worlds.

As none of the previous Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec champions - Thomas Voeckler, Philippe Gilbert and Simon Gerrans - are competing this go round in Canada, a new winner will be crowned on Friday afternoon. The 2012 runner-up Greg Van Avermaet, however, will be racing in Canada as part of a deep BMC squad. The 28-year-old Belgian had a block of North American stage racing at the Tour of Utah as well as the USA Pro Challenge with one stage win in Utah plus five additional podium finishes in both Utah and Colorado. BMC will also field Cadel Evans, recently a winner of a stage at the Tour of Alberta, plus USA Pro Challenge overall champion Tejay van Garderen. Brent Bookwalter, too, is on good form having supported van Garderen in Colorado and then finishing second overall in Alberta.

All three previous champions from the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal - Robert Gesink (2010), Rui Costa (2011) and Lars Petter Nordhaug (2012) - have returned, however, and have shown form this year indicative of a repeat performance. Gesink and Nordhaug are now teammates on Belkin Pro Cycling and while neither have any victories in their 2013 palmares, both have Tour de France finishes in their legs and recent high placings: Nordhaug finished 2nd overall on home soil in Norway's Tour des Fjords while Gesink just finished 5th overall at the Tour of Alberta. Their Belkin teammate Tom-Jelte Slagter is someone, too, who can win on the circuits in Québec and Montréal.
Costa will lead Movistar in Canada nearing the end of a season highlighted by two stage wins at the Tour de France, a stage win and overall victory at the Tour de Suisse, plus a Portuguese time trial
title. He's been quiet of late in Plouay, Brussels and Fourmies, but can't be counted out with WorldTour points on the line in Canada.

As has been the case in previous editions, the hopes of Canada primarily rest on the shoulders of Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp). The 2012 Giro d'Italia champion has had a rocky 2013 campaign, however, having had to drop out of the Giro and then push through the Tour with a broken rib, but he arrives in Québec and Montréal in good spirits after finishing the Tour of Alberta. 2010 was Hesjedal's best performance in the WorldTour races, with a 4th in Québec followed by 3rd in Montréal. If Hesjedal should falter, Garmin-Sharp's roster still packs quite a punch courtesy of Lachlan Morton, Andrew Talansky and Tom Danielson.

Another Canadian with strong expectations to perform is Québec's own David Veilleux who will captain the Europcar squad. Veilleux made his Tour de France debut this past July and his season has been highlighted by a stage win on the first day at the Critérium du Dauphiné plus overall victory at the Boucles de la Mayenne. Veilleux's best results in his home WorldTour races have been a pair of 22nd place finished in the 2011 events, but he's surely capable of a strong performance.

There are plenty of other riders capable of reaching the podiums in Québec and Montréal including Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Borut Bozic (Astana), Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge), John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) and Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida).

Venues in Québec and Montréal

On Friday, September 13, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec will once again be contested on 16 laps of a 12.6km circuit in historic Old Québec totalling 201.6km. The peloton will descend through the Park Des Champs-De-Bataille, race on the Boulevard Champlain along the Saint Lawrence River before starting the steep ascent up the Cote de la Montagne (10% average gradient with its steepest pitch at 13%). The peloton will then negotiate the narrow and undulating streets of the old city before returning back onto Saint Louis for a shallow, 4% rise to the finish line. All in all there's a shade under 3,000 meters of total climbing on tap for the day's racing.

After travelling via train on Saturday to Montréal, the peloton will face the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday, September 15 - a 205.7km course comprised of 17 12.1km laps on a circuit rich with cycling history. The venue served as the world championship circuit in 1974 (with Eddy Merckx winning his 3rd men's pro world title), the Olympic Games road race in 1976, a men's World Cup event from 1988 through 1992 plus a women's World Cup event from 1998 through 2009.

The course starts on the Avenue du Parc and the peloton will soon ascend the route's signature climb up Mont Royal (1.8km long at 8% average gradient). The riders will descend the Chemin Remembrance and the Cote-des-Neiges before beginning a more technical stint through the downtown streets surrounding the Université de Montréal. The peloton will ascend the Cote de la Polytechnique (780m at 6% average gradient) mid-way through the circuit and descend along the Cote Ste-Catherines back onto Avenue du Parc where they'll face a 4% rise to the finish.

There's even more total climbing on tap in Montréal - 3,893 meters in all - with a finale typically consisting of a small group of riders duking it out for victory at the day's conclusion.

Both days favour the peloton's strong men that pack a finishing punch - and the most watched man in the peloton will be the rider who best personifies the requisite characteristics - Cannondale's Peter Sagan.

Article Source: Cycling News

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Jamis Xenith SL (2014)

Jamis Xenith SL (2014)
[re]designed. [re]engineered. [re]ignited.
coming january 2014.

Jamis Road Product Manager talks about the new Xenith SL for 2014 Video also stars rider Phil Mooney from Team Jamis Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home

Video Produced by Jamis Bicycles

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bradley Wiggins to Lead Team Sky at Tour of Britain

Race forms part of Worlds training

Team Sky has confirmed that 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins will lead the team at the Tour of Britain later this month. Wiggins, who missed this year’s Tour de France, will use the British race as part of his build up to the Worlds later in the month.

Wiggins will be joined by Ian Stannard, Josh Edmondson, Bernhard Eisel, Mathew Hayman and David Lopez, in Sky’s six-man line-up.

“The crowds and the roads make it special and it’s always very humbling to see the fantastic support that we get from the public. I’m coming into the race feeling really good. It finishes in close proximity to the world time trial championships which is my main late-season goal. The Tour of Britain is always a tough event and I’m looking forward to getting started."

The race starts on September 15 with a 201km stage from Peebles - Drumlanrig Castle. The race may start in Scotland but over the following days it travels through the north of England, and Wales, before a finishing stage in London on September 22.

Wiggins was forced to abandon the race last year due to illness but with a 16k time trial on stage 3 this year, he is one of the pre-race favourites for the overall win.

Sky will be joined at the race by four other WorldTour teams Garmin-Sharp, Movistar, Omega Pharma and Cannondale. However, last year’s defending champion, Jonathan Tiernan Locke – now with Team Sky – has not been selected.

Article Source: Cycling News

Monday, September 2, 2013

Preview: Inaugural Tour of Alberta Ready to Roll

Can anyone stop Sagan?
By: Pat Malach

The Canadian province of Alberta has overcome a lot to get to the start of its inaugural namesake UCI stage race this week. Severe flooding in June temporarily displaced more than 100,000 people and left behind a wake of damage measured in billions. Extensive road and bridge damage southwest of Calgary were the biggest obstacles for the bike race.

But in a testament to the can-do attitude prevalent in the rugged Canadian province, which lies north of Montana between British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, communities have recovered, roads have been repaired and the race will go on.

The six-day UCI 2.1 Tour of Alberta stage race starts Tuesday evening with a prologue time trial near the middle of the province in Edmonton before making its way south over the next five days toward the finish in Calgary.

Although the routes for four of the five stages remain the same as originally planned, flood damage in the Rocky Mountains forced major changes to the Queen Stage on the penultimate day.

The original plan for stage 4 was to start in Black Diamond and travel 200km northwest through the Rockies to Canmore, ending with a hors category climb to the ski station southeast of Banff National Park. Now the stage will start and finish in Black Diamond with a circuit through the foothills. Although roads in the area have reopened to auto traffic, organizers decided earlier this summer to adjust the route based on rider safety.

With the summit finish in Canmore gone, the race loses its best chance for the climbing specialists to reshuffle the general classification in their favor. The current overall route puts more emphasis on the opening race against the clock in Edmonton and time bonuses collected at the end of each stage.

Evans, Hesjedal, Sagan on hand in Alberta

The race's early September spot on the calendar following the USA Pro Challenge allows it to serve as a bridge to the upcoming World Tour races in Montreal and Quebec, and as such it draws some of the world's top riders and teams. Six WorldTour teams will join two Pro Continental and seven Continental teams over the roads of Alberta this week.

BMC, Garmin Sharp, Cannondale, Argos-Shimano, Belkin and Orica GreenEdge will represent cycling's top division. UnitedHealthcare and Champion System come from the Pro Continental ranks, while Continental teams Bissell, 5-Hour Energy, Equipe Garneau-Quebecor, Jelly Belly, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, Smart Stop-Mountain Khakis and the Canadian National Team round out the field.

Cannondale sprinter Peter Sagan, who recently won four of seven stages in Colorado, is the prohibitive favorite for the overall in Canada. With a short prologue time trial and time bonuses up for grabs at the end of each stage, the relatively flat parcours will provide Sagan plenty of opportunities to pad his cumulative time.

Ryder Hesjedal, who became the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour last year at the Giro d'Italia, will head an eight-man Garmin Sharp squad that includes rising star Lachlan Morton and veteran pro David Millar. Hesjedal has been dealing with some lingering aches and pains following a crash in the Tour, but he'll no doubt want to put on good show in his home country.

Cadel Evans, winner of the 2011 Tour de France, will lead a BMC team that also includes Americans Brent Bookwalter and Larry Warbasse. Cam Meyer will bring an Orica GreenEdge team that includes Pieter Weening. Belkin Pro Cycling is bringing 2012 Tour of California winner Robert Gesink of the Netherlnds and Aussie Jack Bobridge on its eight-rider roster. Argos-Shimano has Slovanian sprinter Luca Mezgec along with strongmen Patrick Gretsch and Simon Geschke on its own eight-man squad.

Among the other early contenders for yellow; look for current Canadian national champion Zach Bell, Belkin's Bobridge, Garmin Sharp's Rohan Dennis, BMC's Bookwalter, Gretsch of Argos-Shimano, Meyer of Orica GreenEdge and current US national time trial champion Tom Zirbel (Optum-Kelly Benefits Strategies). Zirbel's teammate, Chad Haga, will also be back in the peloton after taking a rest during the USA Pro Challenge.

The sprinters who failed to unseat Sagan during the bunch sprints in Colorado will get another crack. Optum's Ryan Anderson twice finished on the podium with Sagan. Mezgec of Argos finished second to Sagan twice in Colorado. US national road champion Freddie Rodriguez could be savvy enough to sneak past Sagan if the right circumstances are present. Other sprinters on hand include Optum's Ken Hanson and UnitedHealthcare riders Robert Foster and Luke Keough.

But with Sagan still building his form toward the world championships later in the month, the two-time winner of the points jersey in the Tour de France will be near the top of this game and a real challenge for the opposition.

Prologue Time Trial: Edmonton
Tuesday, Sept. 3

Starting and finishing at Sir Winston Churchill Square in the heart of downtown Edmonton, this tight, technical 7.3km course will take the riders through neighborhoods, a thrilling descent and the climb from the river valley through the Alberta Legislature grounds. The winner will wear the first-ever Tour of Alberta's leader's jersey, and the first pecking order of the week will be set for teams.

Stage 1: Strathcona County - Camrose
Wednesday, Sept. 4

Stage 1 will start in the Strathcona County suburbs just east of Edmonton after a neutral parade around Sherwood Park. The race will head north for a pass through the city of Fort Saskatchewan before turning south to Ardrossan and the scenic lake district and Miquelon Lake Provincial Park. When the race reaches Camrose at 146km, the peloton will negotiate three laps of the tight, twisting 4km finishing circuit for what will likely be the first bunch sprint of the week.

Stage 2: Devon - Red Deer
Thursday, Sept. 5

If Sagan were ever to draw up a perfect stage for himself, it might look like stage 2 from Devon to Red Deer. Riders will get a nice warm up as the race route heads south, passing through the rolling farmland around Leduc, Millet, Wetaskiwin, Hobbema and Ponoka. From there they'll turn west toward Red Deer, where they'll tackle a steep, punchy climb east of town before arriving for the first of three finishing circuits. The 4km finishing circuits include a 30 meter climb that will hurt the sprinters and an 80km/h descent that will reward nerve and handling skills. More than any other stages, this one looks tailor made for the young Slovakian and his skills.

Stage 3: Strathmore - Drumheller
Friday, Sept. 6

Closing in on Calgary now, stage 3 starts just to the east in Strathmore. The plains around Strathmore quickly give way to rolling hills as the race heads east then north through the community of Rosebud. Then it's back to the banks of the Red Deer River in the heart of the Badlands. The short, steep grades along the river could be the launch pads to victory. Drumheller fans get a front row seat for this action as the race will pass through town before doing a large loop north and back into town for a fast finish. This first day in the foothills has the potential to shake up the race standings.

Stage 4: Black Diamond - Black Diamond
Saturday, Sept. 7

Stage 4 was initially scheduled as the Queen Stage, starting in Black Diamond and finishing in the heart of the Rocky Mountains with a 64km ascent to Canmore. But the spring flooding caused too much road damage to use the original route. Instead, organizers have devised a stage that starts and finishes in Black Diamond after a lumpy 170km circuit. The race will head north out of Black Diamond on Alberta 22 and cruise through Turner Valley into the hills. A large 60km circuit gives way to a smaller 40km circuit that is done twice. This smaller circuit is loaded with challenging terrain, including two King of the Mountain climbs and numerous other rollers. What is left of the peloton after these climbs will descend down Alberta 22 to Black Diamond.

Stage 5: Okotoks - Calgary
Sunday, Sept. 8

The hill country west of Okotoks gives one final chance for the climbers, but chances are this stage will be another one for the sprinters. Momentum will build through the flatlands leading into Calgary, and the race should be going full gas along Memorial Drive before crossing the Bow River leading to downtown, where four 3.5km finishing circuits await.

For more about this week's racing see Cycling News HD

Article Source: Cycling News