Niklas Arndt (Germany/Giant-Alpecin) reversed the result of the 2015 Tour of Alberta’s second stage when he prevailed over the man who beat him, Michael Matthews, in Monday’s final stage in Edmonton. Trek’s Dutchman Bauke Mollema held onto the yellow jersey and took his first stage race victory, after coming runner-up in the 2013 Tour de Suisse and this season’s Tirreno-Adriatico.
Before the action, Orica-GreenEdge’s Christian Meier assessed the day: “It’ll be tough. When it comes to time bonus sprints, it’s always tough. Our goal is to set up Yates before the final kilometre.” With 16 bonus seconds offered and Yates 6-seconds back of Mollema, the race was–like last season–for the taking on the last stage.
— Canadian Cycling Mag (@CDNCyclingMag) September 7, 2015
The riders faced eleven 11-km laps that described a figure eight. It took a couple of laps for a breakaway of five to form, with orange polka-dot jersey holder Ben Perry (Canada/Silber) and Cesare Benedetti (Italy/Bora-Argon 18), only one point behind, battling to be the King of the Mountains. Perry took the first KOM clash on lap three, while Hincapie’s Tom Skujins (Latvia) won the first intermediate sprint.
With the breakaway growing as large as an octet, Trek controlled the pace of the peloton. At the second intermediate sprint, Benedetti had Skujins’ measure and thus took over the sprint competition lead from Matthews. Soon after the Italian had the KOM to fight for again. Perhaps too pooped from the scrap with Skujins, Benedetti couldn’t match Perry, who owned the jersey after that.
With Svein Tuft acting as locomotive, the peloton caught the last of the resistors right at the start of the 11th lap. Tuft kept at his labours and Orica-GreenEdge and Cannondale marked the attacks. The skirmishing was fierce, with Ryder Hesjedal among those who tried his luck. Mollema had to go after Tom-Jelte Slagter himself.
Arndt took a fine lead out from Ramon Sinkeldam (The Netherlands) and was able to resist Matthews’ closing speed.
Post-race the KOM Perry explained, “The first two (KOM sprints) it was easy to beat (Benedetti). The third I could really feel the day in my legs.” Of keeping the orange-polka-dot jersey, he said, “It’s unreal. I was really nervous with two days to think about it. I was stressing about what might happen today.”
Michael Woods (Optum) was the highest placing Canadian on GC in 10th.
2015 Tour of Alberta Stage 6
1) Niklas Arndt (Germany/Giant-Alpecin) 2:44:57
2) Michael Matthews (Australia/Orica-GreenEdge s.t.
3) Dion Smith (USA/Hincapie) s.t.
11) Ryan Anderson (Canada/Optum) +0:02
2015 Tour of Alberta Final GC
1) Bauke Mollema (The Netherlands/Trek) 20:20:20
2) Adam Yates (Great Britain/Orica-GreenEdge) +0:06
3) Tom-Jelte Slagter (The Netherlands/Cannondale-Garmin) +0:22
10) Michael Woods (Canada/Optum) +1:25