Tour of Alberta athletes, facts, figures, history

Cyclists in the Tour of Alberta will race more than 150-kilometres per day for six days; there are no rest stops or time outs.

• Cyclists in the Tour of Alberta will race more than 150-kilometres per day for six days; there are no rest stops or time outs.

• Cyclists in the Tour of Alberta will average approximately 40 kilometres per hour over the course of the 1,000-plus kilometres they will race.

• The cyclists in the Tour of Alberta will have race more than 100 days and in more than 20 countries.

• Athletes from more than 20 countries will participate in the Tour of Alberta.

• The Tour of Alberta will feature more than five teams that will have participated in the Tour de France in July or Tour of Italy in May.

• The Tour of Alberta is perfectly situated between the current top North American events: the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, Aug. 19 to 25 and the UCI World Cups in Montreal and Quebec, Sept. 13 to 15.

• The Tour of Alberta will be the province’s first major professional cycling race and be the biggest stage race in the history of the country.

Top Canadian Professional Road Cyclists

• Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal became the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour (the historic big three Tours of France, Italy and Spain).

• Eight-time Canadian National Champion Svein Tuft won the silver medal at the 2008 World Championships, the first Canadian since 1980s.

• Canada’s Steve Bauer led the Tour de France for 5 days in 1988 and 10 days in 1991, making him a national sports hero; he finished 4th overall in the Tour de France in 1988.

• Bauer won the silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in road cycling.

• Alex Stieda, a member of the Tour of Alberta Board of Directors, was the first North American to lead the Tour de France in 1986.

Cyclists and Food

• Professional cyclists can eat as much as 10,000 calories a day during a race like the Tour of Alberta • Most cyclists eat a strong combination of protein and carbohydrates to replenish the energy they exert after a five-hour, 160-kilometre a day race.

• Pre-race and during race, cyclists drink caffeinated-laced beverages to provide an extra boost of energy while racing; including non-carbonated Coke.

• Most professional cyclists are very stringent on their calorie intake, sometimes weighing food, all in the name of keeping weight down.

The Science of Cycling

• Cyclists in the Tour of Alberta or Tour de France will hit speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour descending the biggest mountain passes.

• The average elite tire that professionals use is less than one inch in thickness.

• Cyclists can hit speeds of up to 75 kilometres per hour on the flats sprinting toward the finish line.

• Most professional cyclists will average a cadence of 90 to 110 revolutions per minute. In an average five-hour day of racing produce more than 27,000 revolutions.

• The average bicycle for the top professionals weighs 15 to 16 pounds and costs around $10,000. Most are made of space age carbon fiber and titanium alloys.

• All professional cyclists are mandated to wear crash helmets. Most helmets weigh less than a pound.

• Cyclists have “power meters” on their bikes that monitor cadence, heart rate, power output, distance traveled, calories burned, and more, all of which is downloaded post-race and analyzed on computers.

• Lactate thresholds and acids, which include most blood panels are analyzed during long three-week races like the Tour de France, preventing illnesses and priming them for a new day of racing.

History of Cycling

• At top speeds, the top sprinters in the world can produce more than 1,000 watts of power and sustain that output for more than a minute.

• The Tour de France and Tour of Italy (Giro D’italia) are one of the oldest annual world sporting events, dating back to 1903.

• The Tour de France and Tour of Italy both started as promotions by newspapers to increase their circulations. The Tour de France adopted a yellow jersey for the race leaders, and Tour of Italy adopted a pink jersey to follow the color of the papers promoting the three-week long tours throughout their respective countries.

• In 1996, professionals were allowed into the Olympics for road cycling. Up to that point, only amateurs could contend.

• Professional cycling was established in Europe after World War II, with clubs being sponsored by corporate sponsors or travel and tourism groups.

• The USA Pro Challenge in Colorado and the Amgen Tour of California, America’s largest races both attracted more than one million roadside spectators in 2012.

• The Tour de France drew an estimated 20 million roadside spectators in the 2012.

• The Tour de France celebrated its 100 race in 2013 — the inaugural year of the Tour of Alberta.