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2015 Tour of Alberta Stage 1: Trek wins team time trial, Mollema wears first yellow jersey

American WorldTour squad Trek Factory Racing took the team time trial on Wednesday's opening stage of the 2015 Tour of Alberta to put Dutchman Bauke Mollema in the first yellow leader's jersey.

Trek Factory Racing Tour of Alberta

American WorldTour squad Trek Factory Racing took the team time trial on Wednesday’s opening stage of the 2015 Tour of Alberta to put Dutchman Bauke Mollema in the first yellow leader’s jersey. One of the first teams to roll out, Trek held tough on a blustery 19.6-km course in Grand Prairie.

Trek Factory Racing, led by Bauke Mollema, puled off the surprise win in the team time trial to kickstart the Tour Of Alberta. The pre-stage favourites, Orica-Greenedge, finished second. Photo credit: Jeff Bartlett
Trek Factory Racing, led by Bauke Mollema, puled off the surprise win in the team time trial to kickstart the Tour Of Alberta. The pre-stage favourites, Orica-Greenedge, finished second. Photo credit: Jeff Bartlett
The first of the 15-teams to tackle the windy course was Lupus Racing Team. The next squad, Canadian Team H&R Block, lost its shape almost immediately. All 148-riders on the start list powered regular road bikes. Lupus stopped the clock at 23:41. The head and crosswinds took their toll as many teams lost three of the eight. Trek assumed the lead with 22:56.

Orica-GreenEdge, expecting to win while also drilling for the September 20 UCI World Championship race in Richmond, Virginia, was the last to start. Katusha slotted into second, 9-seconds down on Trek.

Bora-Argon 18 set the best split time on course, though Orica-GreenEdge kept its octet tight long enough to best Bora-Argon 18. Ryder Hesjedal’s Cannondale-Garmin kept seven together but couldn’t bump into the top three. Meanwhile, Trek was getting cold on the hot seat.

Bora-Argon 18 faded on the second half of the course and couldn’t usurp Trek’s lead. The five Orica-GreenEdge riders who remained together in the final kilometres buried themselves but missed out on the win by less than a second.

Orica’s Canadian Svein Tuft speculated on what happened.

Tuft went on to say, “In those hard headwind sections you need a lot of men and we lost ours too early today.” His teammate Christian Meier is top Canadian on GC at 6th.

After the podium ceremonies, the first race leader said, “Tomorrow’s stage has no secrets for us, we rode the climbs earlier this week. We’ll work hard and try to defend the jersey.” He added, “The guys are all really strong. The last 8-km were really tough with five guys, but that’s where we gained a lot of time. It’s great to win a team time trial. It’s the first time in my life, so it’s really special.”

Mollema’s teammate Matthew Busche, two-time American road champion, reported that his crash at the Tour of Utah still affected him: “Right from the start I couldn’t pull, but I was able to sit on the wheel. You feel like a slacker for the team, but to be the 5th guy allowed our team to win.”

Thursday’s stage is 172-km around Grand Prairie and ends with two circuits, each with a KOM climb.

2015 Tour of Alberta Stage 1
1) Trek 22:56
2) Orica-GreenEdge +0:01
3) Katusha +0:08

Trek Factory Racing Tour of Alberta
The Trek Factory Racing team put in a surprise performance during the Stage 1 team time trial, topping pre-race favourite Orica-GreenEdge by one second. Photo credit: Jeff Bartlett