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Huffman Battles to Victory at Marmot Basin

Kuss Finishes Second as Rally Cycling Dominates Stage One of the Tour of Alberta

Rally Cycling ruled stage one of the Tour of Alberta with Evan Huffman powering up the scenic ascent to Marmot Basin to take an awe inspiring victory. Behind Huffman, Rally Cycling stacked the top ten with Sepp Kuss finishing in second, Colin Joyce in seventh and Rob Britton in eighth. The stage victory earns Huffman the leader's yellow jersey as well as the polka dot and green jerseys of the Mountains and Points competitions.

“I didn’t plan to go so early on the climb,” said Huffman. “It was an in the moment decision. I was feeling pretty good, and I knew that Sepp was one of the strongest climbers in the group if I got caught. Everyone sat up for a moment, and I took advantage of it, got a gap and time trialed to the finish. I was at the limit the last few kilometers and I am happy I was able to hold it together. We are in a good position for the rest of the race. The other teams are going to attack nonstop over the next three days, but we are first and second overall with a strong team capable of controlling the race.”

Evan Huffman in the yellow jersey of overall leader

A breakaway of 14 riders, including Huffman and Kuss, seized the chance for the stage victory and set the pace for most of the day. As the breakaway hit the lower slopes of the day's final 11-kilometer ascent, they held a gap of just over two minutes on the peloton. With the peloton closing in behind, the breakaway experienced a lull in pace. Seizing the moment, Huffman swung to the right side of the road, applied pressure and rode clear. Behind, Kuss marked his remaining breakaway companions, allowing Huffman free reign to go for stage glory. His gap quickly grew, and despite the peloton giving frantic chase, Huffman battled through the pain to raise his arms in victory. Across the line, he was 15 seconds clear of Kuss, who had dropped the rest of the breakaway, with Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac) a further 13 seconds back.

"Evan’s performance today was incredible,” said Kuss. “He did so much work in the breakaway, and then took advantage when the pace dropped on the final climb. Once he was gone, I knew he was going to take the win. It was awesome to watch! With Evan up the road, I was able to follow wheels and wait until the very last moment to go for second. We still have three hard days, but first and second is a great way to start.”

Sepp Kuss crossed the line second to give the team a spectacular one-two finish

The team will look to defend the overall lead in the final three stages. The Tour of Alberta leaves Jasper National Park tonight and continues tomorrow with a flat 139-kilometer stage starting and finishing in Spruce Grove. The 116-kilometer third stage will start and finish in Edmonton, near the University of Alberta. The race ends on Monday with what has become the traditional final stage in the Edmonton city center. It includes two challenging climbs on each of the 11 laps and will provide the ultimate battle ground for the overall win.

Tour of Alberta Stage 1
1. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling)
2. Sepp Kuss (Rally Cycling)
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac)
4. Christopher Jones (UnitedHealthcare)
5. Jack Burke (Aevolo)
6. Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac)
7. Colin Joyce (Rally Cycling)
8. Rob Britton (Rally Cycling)
9. Taylor Shelden (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)
10. James Piccoli (Elevate-KHS)

General Classification After Stage 1

1. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling)
2. Sepp Kuss (Rally Cycling)
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac)
4. Christopher Jones (UnitedHealthcare)
5. Jack Burke (Aevolo)
6. Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac)
7. Colin Joyce (Rally Cycling)
8. Rob Britton (Rally Cycling)
9. Taylor Shelden (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)
10. James Piccoli (Elevate-KHS)

Points Classification After Stage 1

1. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling)

Mountains Classification After Stage 1
1. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling)