Edmonton to Strathcona County, 163 km
If you’ve participated in any of this country’s early Spring Classics, such as Barry’s Roubaix in B.C. or Paris to Ancaster in Ontario, you’ll be familiar with one of this stage’s features. On the route from Edmonton northeast to Fort Saskatchewan, then south past Ardrossan to a long eastern loop before coming back to Strathcona County, the peloton will encounter gravel sectors, North America’s answer to pavé.
“We were looking for something to spice up a flat stage,” race technical director Jeff Corbett says. “We decided to throw in a handful of dirt roads, each close to 2-km long. We didn’t want to litter the stage race with them because you don’t want somebody’s four days of work to be lost because of a flat tire on one gravel sector. We kept the gravel minimal and put it late in the week so your week wasn’t over before it began.”
And crosswinds will probably challenge the pack, too.