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Hesjedal, Mollema among cyclists to take part in Tour of Alberta

Ryder Hesjedal of Canada, right, crosses the finish line ahead of the overall leader Aberto Contador, left, at the end of the18th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race from Melide, Switzerland, to Verbania, Italy, Thursday, May 28, 2015. Hesjedal confirmed on Monday that he will retire at the end of the 2016 season.
Ryder Hesjedal of Canada, right, crosses the finish line ahead of the overall leader Aberto Contador, left, at the end of the18th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race from Melide, Switzerland, to Verbania, Italy, Thursday, May 28, 2015. Hesjedal confirmed on Monday that he will retire at the end of the 2016 season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP

Defending champion Bauke Mollema and Canadian cyclist Ryder Hesjedal will headline the 2016 Tour of Alberta multi-stage cycling race.

Mollema, who won the 2015 Tour of Alberta, finished 11th overall at the Tour de France this year, but had been positioned for a podium spot before crashing in the final days of the three-week long marathon event.

Hesjedal, considered one of Canada’s top road cyclists and the winner of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, will compete in one of the final races of his professional career.

“We’re bringing a strong team to Alberta, for sure,” said Hesjedal, who rides for Trek-Segafredo. “I’d like to think I could be that guy for our team for the race, but you have to remember this is a professional sport. The guys with the best legs and feeling the best are the guys you need to support.

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“It’s about winning. We’ll see how the race rolls out and what opportunities there are for the team. You never know sometimes until you get into the race as to who has the best form. This race, though I haven’t studied it a lot, seems to be without the uphill finishes, which means it will be a race for opportunities. So, we’ll see. The strongest usually wins.”

The Trek-Segafredo team also includes American Peter Stetina, two-time Tour de France stage winner Frank Schleck, Gregory Rast and Stijn Devolder.

READ MORE: Economy shortens Tour of Alberta race by one day

The five-stage race kicks off Sept. 1 in Lethbridge, Alta.

Watch below: The Tour of Alberta, a prestigious cycling race, will return to Lethbridge in 2016. Quinn Campbell filed this report on Nov. 9, 2015.

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