Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing) won the second stage of the Tour of Alberta on Thursday.
Dillier held off fellow breakaway rider Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly-Kenda) to claim victory in the 175-kilometer stage from Devon to Red Deer.
Race leader Peter Sagan (Cannondale) placed third, as he out-sprinted the rest of the peloton that was right on the heels of the two leaders.
Dillier and Tvetcov attacked the peloton about 95km into the stage, at which point they began a long, two-person time trial to Red Deer. The duo opened a gap of 5 minutes before the peloton, led by Sagan’s Cannondale squad, decided it was time to chase them down.
“I saw a good moment to attack after the second [intermediate] sprint,” Dillier said. “When I saw this guy from Jelly Belly, we went really fast first. I knew we would have a chance to go to the end.”
The two leaders benefited from the course, which featured some short but punchy climbs that kept the peloton at bay late in the stage.
The gap was well under a minute with 1km left, but the two stage-hunters were able to stave off the pack. Dillier pulled away with 100 meters remaining and crossed the line victorious.
“At first we had … a lot of attacks. They let us go after the second [intermediate] sprint,” Dillier said of the peloton. “I think everybody was tired after all these attacks. And we just tried to save something for the final because we knew they would want to have a bunch sprint here again, and the last 30k would be really hard. We tried to save something to go to the end.”
Sagan said his team’s job was to stay at the front of the peloton — getting into a breakaway was not on the agenda.
“We did work just only to be on the front, not to [be] in the breakaway,” Sagan said. “But [other teams] helped us, Garmin and Optum, and then on the climb Argos, and then on the circuit other teams. For us it was good. We pulled all day yesterday and today we wanted a little bit of rest. On the front is another three hard days. Today we did good work, but only for control.”
Sagan retained his race lead, 26 seconds ahead of Garmin-Sharp’s Rohan Dennis. Third overall is Tobias Ludviggson (Argos-Shimano), at 28 seconds. BMC Racing’s Cadel Evans and Brent Bookwalter sit fourth and fifth overall, respectively, at 36 and 37 seconds back.
The race resumes with Friday’s stage 3, a 169km route from Strathmore to Drumheller.