Tour de France heroes, big-race winners and top Canadian talent are among the field of 120 racers wheeling into the city for the first leg of the Tour of Albertacycling event on September 3.
The Lethbridge course, spanning 142 kilometers in six laps through the city, was planned to provide maximum viewing options for local residents hoping to cheer on their favorite rider and team or for those just wanting to see some of the top cyclists in the world close up in action.
“The Lethbridge event, designed as a circuit race with several laps, is a very fan friendly style of race where spectators can stay in one spot and see a lot of race action,” says Duane Vienneau of Edmonton, executive director of the Tour of Alberta.
“The Lethbridge segment is also unique because it features a later afternoon start, as local organizers wanted residents to be able to watch when they finished work for the day,” he says.
Although this is the first time Lethbridge has hosted a stage of the race, it is the second year Vienneau’s team has organized the Tour of Alberta.
Touted as being the only event of its kind in Canada, last year’s event attracted 15 of the world’s top cycling teams and was viewed by 200,000 live spectators. It was televised to 41 million viewers in more than 162 countries.
The economic impact for Alberta was estimated at $24 million, he says. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world's governing body in the sport of bicycle racing, has given the event a 2.1 rating.