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2015 Tour of Alberta Stage 4: Back to back wins for Slagter on Marmot Basin showdown

For the second stage in a row, Dutch dynamo Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin) surged away from his rivals at a summit finsh to take the victory. An engrossing battle on the long climb to Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park saw the GC principles mob the day’s podium. Bauke Mollema (The Netherlands/Trek) kept the race lead.

Two consecutive summit finishes, two consecutive wins for Tom-Jelte Slagter.
Two consecutive summit finishes, two consecutive wins for Tom-Jelte Slagter. Photo credit: Jeff Bartlett
An intrepid trio broke away early and was kept at a manageable distance as the race flowed over rollers, including several in each of three laps stretching southeast of the town of Jasper. Mollema’s Trek squad controlled the tempo of the nervous peloton.

As ever, the scenery was awe-inspiring.

The distance closed on the way to the final 14-km clamber. Kicking up to its steepest pitches in the last kilometre, the haul also featured a couple of level spots. Hincapie took over the front of the peloton as the road kicked up and then Canadian Guillaume Boivin assumed the reins for his Optum teammate and compatriot Michael Woods.

Escapee Logan Owen (USA/Axeon) was solo with 10-km to go but his gap was only 16-seconds. From the peloton Ryder Hesjedal bridged over but the two couldn’t pull far ahead of the bunch. It was Jelly Belly’s Lachlan Morton’s turn to attack. The Australian, 10th in the Tour of Utah and 5th in the USA Pro Challenge, was gobbled up with 5.5-km to go. Fifth-place Simon Spilak’s attack also failed.

Sven Erik Bystrøm (Norway/Katusha) waited for a flat section to launch his bid for glory with Nate Brown (USA/Cannondale-Garmin) in pursuit. Again, the breakaway was lassoed with 2.5-km remaining. Twelve riders passed under the red flag together.

Yates powered up the right hand side and Mollema took up the chase. The increasing grade worked against Yates. Slagter, Yates and Mollema came together with 400-metres to the line. Slagter exploded away from Mollema and Yates with 150-metres to go and there was no bringing him back.

At the post-stage press conference Slagter said, “For me it was a nice day to start riding, because I won yesterday it takes away a lot of pressure. We had a very good team for today. We were confident for making a good result. I just had to wait and wait as long and possible and make my sprint at the end like I did yesterday.”

Mollema spoke of his countryman’s powerful dig: “It was a really good attack. I was on his wheel but I got boxed in a little bit and then it wasn’t easy to close a gap like that. It was one of the hardest kilometres in my life. I was 2-3 seconds (from Yates) and I knew he was only 6 seconds behind me in GC. I was close to breaking, but in the end I made it. I’m happy with second today, because I really wanted to keep the jersey.”

In coming 10th, Woods takes over the best Canadian jersey from Hesjedal.

Sunday’s 206-km, downhill-trending stage from Edson to Spruce Grove is one for the sprinters.

2015 Tour of Alberta Stage 4

1) Tom-Jelte Slagter (The Netherlands/Cannondale-Garmin) 4:09:26
2) Bauke Mollema (The Netherlands/Trek) +0:04
3) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Orica-GreenEdge) s.t.
10) Michael Woods (Canada/Optum) +0:27

2015 Tour of Alberta GC
1) Bauke Mollema (The Netherlands/Trek) 13:10:58
2) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Orica-GreenEdge) +0:06
3) Tom-Jelte Slagter (The Netherlands/Cannondale-Garmin) +0:22
9) Michael Woods (Canada/Optum) +1:22