Wouter Wippert sprinted to his first victory in #GreenArgyle on the second stage of the ATB Tour of Alberta on Saturday. The Dutchman took full advantage of a strong Cannondale-Drapac sprint train and timed his sprint to perfection in his surge to the line. John Murphy (Holowesko-Citadel) and Ryan Macanally (H&R Block) rounded out the podium.
“For the team, the win is a really positive way to handle the things that are happening internally at the moment,” said Wippert. “On a personal level, after a really bad start to the year, I’m really happy and relieved that things are finally going as they should be since Nationals.”
Wippert said Cannondale-Drapac wanted to make “a real race” on the 139-kilometer Spruce Grove stage. As a result, all early escape attempts were neutralized.
“We tried to put it in echelons, but there wasn’t enough wind for that,” said Wippert. “When we realized that we couldn’t split the field, we let the break go away.”
The move included Alex Catagord (UnitedHealthCare), Eduardo Estrada (Medellin-Inder) and Bruno Langois (Garneau-Quebecor). The trio built a maximum advantage of two minutes before Rally, riding in defense of Evan Huffman’s overall lead, began to chip away at the gap. Forty kilometers from the finish, Cannondale-Drapac and Holowesko-Citadel lent riders to the cause.
“Three guys are easy to control while preparing for the sprint,” noted Wippert. “The situation was perfect for us. Nate [Brown] and Lawson [Craddock] did a great job bringing back the break, and even after those guys were caught, Nate and Lawson kept riding.”
The catch was made shortly before the peloton entered the Spruce Grove finish circuit where the peloton contested three laps around a five-kilometer loop.
“The last lap the guys did an awesome job,” said Wippert. “We communicated it all perfectly and hit it on the right moment with just a little less than two kilometers to go. It was a block headwind, so I wanted to wait a little bit longer than normal. It worked out pretty well.”
The ATB Tour of Alberta continues on Sunday with a 116-kilometer stage that starts and finishes in Edmonton. Tom-Jelte Slagter heads into the second half of the four-day Canadian stage race in third overall, 31-seconds down on Huffman.