Stage 4 of Tour of Alberta featured some ugly stretches of roads

See a list of road closures below

Stage 4 of the Tour of Alberta was likely the first time “Canadian Pavé ” has been used in cycling.

And some riders must prefer it be the last.

At least one entrant was injured after crashing on a section of the course that was essentially asphalt and gravel, on roads either unpaved or in a state of what some would consider disrepair. The course also featured three sections of dirt roads.

“The Canadian pavé wasn’t hard but it was dangerous,” said Canadian national team rider Benjamin Perry. “People were flatting and were coming to compete stops in the middle of the road. We’re going 55 to 60 K an hour most of the time, so that was really dangerous,”

Perry’s teammate Adam de Vos was one of two of Canadians that went down, and was taken away in an ambulance, bringing his Tour of Alberta to an early end with what was called a wrist injury.

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“It’s kind of unfortunate we had to go through that, when it didn’t split up the race, it just (made) people break limbs,” said Perry.

Regularly seen in European races, pavé traditionally refers to cobblestone, sections of course that can make things exciting for spectators, challenging for the riders, and create opportunities for gaps to be closed or wined.

The closest thing organizers could find in Alberta were the province’s backroads, which were factored at a half a dozen points in Saturday’s race that wound its way around Edmonton’s limits, starting in Northlands and finishing in Sherwood Park.

The term “Canadian pavé” has been met by some riders with reactions ranging from being slightly amused to moderately offended.

“I don’t what it means to have Canadian pavé, it was just a bad road that had a lot of holes in it,” laughed Dutchmen Tom Dumoulin of Team Giant-Shimano, the overall leader after Stage 4.

“I’m not too happy with that description,” said Canadian national team member Jordan Cheyne, a Kelowna, B.C., native. “I think that’s just pretty bad road work from the province of Alberta, I don’t think that’s pavé. “I think that’s flat tires waiting to happen and it’s little rocks coming up into my face, but it’s all racing, we have to deal with everything.

“For me I just had to rapidly change from looking up the road to see what was happening and looking right in front to see if there was anything that was going to be a problem for me or my wheels, and always looking ahead to see if there was loose wheels, because if you’re following someone and they wipe out you’re screwed.”

At least one rider didn’t mind the prairie version of pave, however. Dumoulin likened the dirt sections to portions of the Strade Bianche, a single-day race in Tuscany, Italy that is annually part of the UCI Europe Tour.

“It was pretty dangerous to be in front and at the end today I didn’t think the dirt sections made a difference in the race but it was cool to do,” he said.

@SunBrianSwane

brian.swane@sunmedia.ca

PLUCKY CANUCKS

Led by Spruce Grove’s Ryan Anderson of, Canadian riders have been showing strongly at the 2014 Tour of Alberta. The burgeoning star with the Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies team has worn the Maple Leaf jersey as top Canadian rider through the prologue and all four stages of the event, and heads into the fifth and final stage in seventh place overall, 16 seconds back of leader Tom Dumoulin.

Canadians, however, are underdogs by nature, so a case could be made that the country’s true heroes in this year’s race have been the Canadian national team, amateurs who have more than held their own against the pros.

“Small budget, big hearts,” said national team member Benjamin Perry. “We’re just trying to do our best. You want to say, ‘oh that guy won that, and that guy won this, it’s so cool,’ but at the same time, you’re racing against them. You have to respect them, but you can’t look up to them. So you can say, ‘Oh that guy won that’ but I still want to beat them.”

The young squad, a development team in many senses, has had a number of highlights, including a top-30 prologue finish by Jordan Cheyne, and aggressive riding in the first four stage by Hugo Houle and Perry that has seen both lead the peloton for brief periods.

The Canadian national team entered Stage 4 ranked 13th overall among 15 teams. After stage 4, Houle is their top individual rider, sitting at No. 34.

“This is a learning experience for us,” said Cheyne. “We’re not getting paid to be here, so it’s just about getting better and representing the flag well, so I think we’re doing that. We’re riding with the best and in the world and we’re there.”

The Tour of Alberta ends Sunday Sept 7th in downtown Edmonton. There will be several road closures until 6:30pm. The list is below. If travelling in any of the effected areas, add extra time!

Sunday, September 7 from 8 – 11 a.m.

102 Avenue westbound, 97 Street to 103 Street

Sunday, September 7 from 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Fortway Drive

102 Avenue, 103 Street to 107 Street

102A Avenue/103 Avenue, 97 Street to 103 Street

103 Avenue, 100 Street to west of 100 Street

100 Street, 102 Avenue to 103A Avenue

103 Street, 102 Avenue to 103 Avenue

107 Street, 98 Avenue to 102 Avenue

Sunday, September 7 from 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Bellamy Hill, Rossdale Road to Macdonald Drive

Grierson Hill

Macdonald Drive, 100 Street to 102 Street

River Valley Road, 105 Street to Groat Road

Rossdale Road, Grierson Hill to Bellamy Hill

Victoria Park Road, 116 Street to Groat Road

100 Avenue, 102 Street to 116 Street

101 Avenue, 95 Street to Grierson Hill

102 Avenue, 95 Street to 97 Street

95 Street, 101A Avenue to 102 Avenue

102 Street, 100 Avenue to Macdonald Drive

NOTE: Once the race has begun, departure from the downtown core for motorists will only be available via the Low Level Bridge, the James MacDonald Bridge or 97 Avenue. Please allow additional time for motor vehicle travel in those areas.

For further information visit Special Event Road Closures.

Parking Restrictions

Parking will not be available along the race course from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 7. A number of meters will be hooded. Please obey all signs, as illegally parked vehicles will be tagged and towed.

Transit Detours Bus Stop Closures

 

Some detours of Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) buses will take place during the event. Please visit TakeETS.com for details about specific routes that will be impacted. LRT service will not be affected.

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