The 2014 Tour of Alberta kicks off in Calgary on Sept. 2, and over the next five days, 135 riders will ride a course over 700 kilometres of scenic, rugged and rolling regions of Alberta. This year, it all starts in Calgary on a short but challenging prologue time trial at Canada Olympic Park.

Five world tour teams - hot off the Tour de France - will be joined by 10 continental teams, ready to tackle the four-kilometre route. Starting at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the riders speed past the base of the ski slope for a grind up six switchbacks in 1.3 kilometres with an elevation gain of over 120 metres for a fast finish at the top of the hill. 

The riders start in one-minute intervals to race against the clock. The fastest time in the Subway Prologue is awarded the coveted yellow leader’s jersey. With this race being a tricky fast hill climb, there might huge gaps in the time - opening the door for that first winner to wear the yellow for many days.

So, just what does it take to slip on that yellow Jersey and what’s a “pauses pipi?” Here are a few facts and figures about pro cycling.

 

  • The bikes weigh no less than 6.8 kg (15 lbs). Yes, they can build them lighter but that is the safe limit rule for pro cycling
  • The cost for specialized pro cycling bikes starts around $8,000 for the road bike and $10,000 for the more aerodynamic time trial bike.  Don’t even ask what Peter Sagan’s custom made Cannondale costs! 
  • Cyclists consume, on average, 6,000 calories on race days. An average adult male consumes less than half that.
  • Many of the races last more than five hours so a gentlemen’s agreement allows for “pauses pipi” or quick potty breaks. That means the other riders do not try to make up time while he relieves himself.
  • There are six coveted jerseys to be won on each stage or race. Like most pro cycling races, in the Tour of Alberta it’s yellow for the Overall Leader, green for the Sprint Points, white for the Best Young Rider and blue for the Most Aggressive Rider. The Maple Leaf jersey goes to the Best Canadian Rider and following tradition, the polka dot jersey goes to the King of the Mountain. Why polka dot? The original sponsor of the King of the Mountain was “Chocolat Poulain” who sold chocolate bars with polka dot wrapping.

 

The exact start time will be decided closer to the race day so stay informed at www.tourofalberta.ca. While on the official site, order your own commemorative Tour of Alberta jersey.

 - By Joanne Elves

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