NEWS
09/07/2015 19:26 EDT | Updated 09/07/2016 01:12 EDT

Netherlands' Mollema wins Tour of Alberta, Germany's Arndt wins final stage

EDMONTON — Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands rode off with the big prize on Monday, winning the Tour of Alberta championship and $12,927.28.

Nikias Arndt of Germany gained a measure of revenge by outsprinting Michael Matthews to win the final stage.

Mollema, riding for Trek Factory Racing, finished the six-day, 865-kilometre race in 20 hours 20 minutes 28 seconds. Adam Yates of Great Britain and Team Orica-Greenedge finished second, six seconds back, with Tom Jelte Slagter of the Nederlands and Team Cannondale-Garmin third, 22 seconds off the pace.

Mollema held the leader's jersey for five of the six stages, losing it only on Day 2 to Matthews, riding for Orica Greenedge. Yates had trailed Mollema by six seconds for the last three stages.

"It was a great week for us," said Mollema who came into Alberta not having raced for about a month. "It couldn't have started better with the team time trial (which Trek won and Mollema had the fastest individual time) and that's the reason I was in the lead all week and the reason I won. It was really, really hard but the team time trial was the key."

It was another solid team effort that enabled Mollema to win on Monday. His teammates controlled the peloton most of the day and kept Mollema in an ideal position for the victory.

"There was a strong breakaway early … not an ideal breakaway for us so we had to pull to keep the time difference about one minute," he said. "It was never a really dangerous situation for us but still, with just six seconds difference with Adam, in the final five kilometres I was looking for him, where he was riding."

In sharp contrast to Sunday's weather conditions, Monday was ideal for racing with temperatures in the mid-teens with no rain but overcast skies. That enabled riders to hit speeds of up to 75 kilometres an hour on the downhill portions of the 11-lap circuit through and around downtown Edmonton that included 11 climbs up the steep slope of Bellamy Hill.

A group of eight riders broke away early and remained about 90 seconds ahead of the peloton until the ninth lap when the gap was cut in half and the group was finally hauled in near the end of the 10th lap.

The final stage, as expected, came down to the final few kilometres of the 124-km stage, with several riders and teams trying, unsuccessfully, to break from the large peloton that refused to let them go.

In the final dash to the finish line, Arndt just held off the charge of the Austrian Matthews, who had beaten Arndt by a wheel width to win Stage 2. Arndt finished in two hours 44 minutes 57 seconds. Dion Smith of New Zealand was third.

Mollema and Yates were both in the large group that finished two seconds back.

"It was a pretty hard finish with the climb before and I needed the team around, they supported me well," said Arndt. "We waited for the right moment."

That came on the last corner and Arndt broke for the finish, with Matthews right with him. Arndt said "with 150 metres to go, I could do the perfect sprint."

Yates was named the best young rider. Matthews, riding for Team Katusha, won the overall sprint title ahead of Arndt, and Benjamin Perry of St. Catharines, Ont., and Silber Pro Cycling was King of the Mountain. Each earned $2500 for their wins. Cannondale-Germin was the top team, worth $5000.

John Korobanik, The Canadian Press