Strong government support for Tour of Alberta race

More than 40 million worldwide viewers are expected to tune in to the Tour of Alberta six-day race — and catch a glimpse of Ponoka.

More than 40 million worldwide viewers are expected to tune in to the Tour of Alberta six-day race — and catch a glimpse of Ponoka.

The tour is set for Sept. 3 to 8 and Ponoka has been chosen as one of the pass through towns Sept. 5 at 1 p.m. during phase 2 of the race. Planning for this race has been seven to 10 years in the making, which started with Alex Stieda, a Canadian biker who always wanted to see a race similar to the Tour de France in Alberta, says Duane Vienneau, executive director for the tour.

After some planning and networking, the Alberta Rural Development Fund jumped at the chance to make the dream a reality and provided seed money with $3.5 million, about half of the full cost of the tour.

“That’s really what started the ball rolling down the road, if you will,” said Vienneau.

Some funds have already been secured to continue the race and Vienneau hinted at the possibility of an announcement in the near future. Flooding in southern Alberta affected some of their plans with one leg of the race finishing off in Canmore in Kananaskis County but the town was unable to deal with the race and repairs.

Canmore lost the finish on that leg but the tour will return another year.

“We’ve already committed to them for the future that we are going to go and give this race back to them,” said Vienneau.

The intention is to be around forever.

“We have the ability to go forever as long as it’s feasible and sustainable,” he added.

Ponoka is one of many communities that have been tied into the race and spectators can look forward to a sprint on 50 Street. The racer to win the sprint will receive a sprint jersey for that day.

“It’s a big deal for these cyclists, they want to have that jersey…There will be lots of excitement coming through Ponoka,” explained Vienneau.

He feels stage 2 will pose a different level of challenge as there are not too many elevations but a strong headwind could slow down bikers. The Tour de France is a three-week race and Alberta’s challenge is six days so there are some differences. Vienneau looks forward to establishing the Tour of Alberta as a premiere international bike race.

“It’s just a very different event for what Albertans are used to,” he said.

Most events in the province are held in a stadium or show grounds but the stadium for this event is Alberta. “It’s constantly moving down the road to the next location.”

Just Posted

Rollovers near Ponoka keep crews busy

Wintry road conditions proved a struggle for motorists on the QE2 highway with several incidents

Plane crash-lands near Ponoka

The airplane had its tail ripped off and it ended right side up in a copse of trees east of Ponoka

Ponoka barrel racer looks to strong future

Shayna Weir’s climb to CFR promises more to come for the barrel racer

Naked man arrested for impaired driving

The man allegedly fled the scene of a collision wearing only a sheet. Plus other Ponoka RCMP briefs

Ponoka Legion commemorates 100th anniversary of Armistice Day

Ponoka residents pack Legion hall during Remembrance Day

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

California wildfire death toll hits 63

Sheriff says hundreds still missing in nation’s deadliest wildfire

Trudeau to meet key Pacific trade partners at APEC leaders’ summit

Canada became one of the first six countries to ratify the CPTPP

Judge orders White House to return press pass to CNN’s Acosta

U.S. District Court Judge will decide on White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta

WikiLeaks chief could see charges, US court filing suggests

Charges against Julian Assange could help illuminate the question of whether Russia co-ordinated with the Trump campaign

Canada has enough pipelines to get the moon

Pipelines totalling 840,000 kilometres run across Canada

Migrants streaming into Tijuana, but now face long stay

U.S. border inspectors are processing about 100 asylum claims a day at the main border crossing with San Diego

One month after legalization, illicit cannabis shops doing brisk business

When asked what has changed since Canada legalized on Oct. 17, one staffer said: “We’re just busier.”

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

Most Read