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After dominant ride, Slovakian will try to defend the jersey but maintains that his main objective is the Canadian WorldTour races in Quebec and Montreal

Photo: Sirotti








04.09.2013 @ 09:37 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) crushed the opposition in the opening prologue of the inaugural Tour of Alberta by putting a massive 13 seconds into 2nd placed Rohan Dennis (Garmin) on the short 7,3km course. The Slovakian will try to defend his lead but keeps his main focus on the WorldTour races in Quebec and Montreal.


Peter Sagan was the major favourite to win the Tour of Alberta whose course consists of one prologue and 5 relatively flat stages. Having recently won 4 stages in the USA Pro Challenge, the Slovakian has a fantastic chance of winning his first stage race since the 2011 Tour de Pologne.


Yesterday he proved that his status is well-deserved when he put a massive 13 seconds into Rohan Dennis (Garmin) on the short 7,3km course for the prologue. A technical route with a difficult descent and a short climb suited the Slovakian down to the ground and he now finds himself in the race's first leader's jersey.


“After tour of Colorado [USA Pro Challenge] I feel very good,” he told Velonews at the finish. “I was trying to do well also here, and the first stage was very important. I was hoping to take victory today, and I did a very, very good prologue.”


Sagan may be the big favourite but he has a clear disadvantage when it comes to team support. Illness and injuries has left him with just 5 teammates compared to the maximum 7 and this may prove costly during the coming stages as the wind is expected to have a major impact on the racing.


Sagan will try to defend his lead but maintains that the event is mainly preparation for the two Canadian WorldTour race Grand Prix de Cycliste de Quebec and Montreal on September 13 and 15 respectively.


“I feel good,” he said. “I try hard to hold the yellow jersey, but I am still preparing for Quebec and Montreal. I will have to see what I can do and what the team will do, day by day.”


Dennis had moved into the hot seat when 15 riders were still to finish their race and he was clearly impressed by the performance of the Slovakian winner.


“I knew there was still Cadel [Evans] to come and Peter,” he said. “I was confident that I would get top three, but Peter destroyed me by 13 seconds or something. I didn’t expect it to be by that much. … He’s got the horsepower, and he’s always going to be that good at that distance.”


Dennis' teammate Ryder Hesjedal enjoyed the chance to race a high-level stage race and home soil and did well by finishing 10th. Like most, the crowd favourite agreed that it will be very difficult to unseat race leader Sagan on this type of course.


“It would have been better to put time into [Sagan] today, but he’s proven many times,” he said. “People knew that he was capable of winning this race today and take time bonuses and sprint, too. He can easily win the GC here based on his ability and the course. That’s if things go by the normal script, but we all know things can happen, and that’s why we get on the bike every day.”


Later today the Tour of Alberta continues with the first stage which is expected to finish in a bunch sprint.



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